US seafood landings and values increase

09 Sep 2011

US commercial fishermen landed 8.2bn pounds of seafood in 2010, valued at $4.5bn, an increase of 200m pounds and more than $600m in value over 2009, according to a new report released by NOAA.

This report shows US fishermen, who meet high environmental and safety standards, continue to be competitive in the dynamic, fast-paced global seafood marketplace.

Fisheries of the United States 2010 shows that for the 22nd consecutive year, the Alaska port of Dutch Harbor-Unalaska led the nation with the highest amount of fish landed, primarily pollock. For the 11th consecutive year New Bedford, Mass. had the highest valued catch, due in large part to the sea scallop fishery.

 All coastal regions of the country saw increases in total value of fisheries landings in 2010. The Gulf of Mexico region, which suffered the nation’s worst marine oil spill in 2010 and saw landings drop by 19%, achieved a modest 2% increase in total landings value.

The report also shows that the average American ate 15.8 pounds of fish and shellfish in 2010, a slight decline from the 2009 figure of 16 pounds. The US continues to be third-ranked for consuming fish and shellfish, behind China and Japan. Americans consumed 4.878 billion pounds of seafood, slightly less than the 4.907 billion pounds in 2009.

While seafood consumption remained fairly consistent, the amount of imported seafood consumed by Americans continued to increase. About 86% of the seafood consumed in the US is imported, measured by edible weight, up 4% from 2009. However, a portion of this imported seafood is caught by American fishermen, exported overseas for processing and then re-imported to the US.

The US exports 63% of its domestically produced seafood, measured by live weight, which represents an increase of four percent over 2009.

Almost half of imported seafood comes from aquaculture. Aquaculture outside the US has expanded dramatically in the last three decades and now supplies the world with half its seafood demand, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. America’s aquaculture industry, though vibrant and diverse, currently meets less than 5% of US seafood demand.

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