Current Fishery Statistics of the United States 2012

24 February 2014, at 12:00am

This publication, released in 2013, is a preliminary report for 2012 on commercial and a final report for recreational fisheries of the United States with landings from the US territorial seas, the US Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), and on the high seas.


US Landings

Commercial landings (edible and industrial) by US fishermen at ports in the 50 states were 9.6 billion pounds or 4.4 million metric tons valued at $5.1 billion in 2012—a decrease of 224 million pounds (down 2.2 per cent) and of $186 million (down 3.5 per cent) compared with 2011. Finfish accounted for 86 per cent of the total landings, but only 47 per cent of the value. The 2012 average exvessel price paid to fishermen was 53 cents per pound compared to 54 cents per pound in 2011.

Catches of Alaska pollock, Pacific whiting and other Pacific groundfish that are processed at-sea aboard US vessels in the northeastern Pacific are credited as “landings” to the state nearest to the area of capture. Information on landing port or per centage of catch transferred to transport ships for delivery to foreign ports is unavailable. These at-sea processed fishery products, on a round (live) weight basis, exceeded 4.4 million metric tons in 2012 and comprised 44 per cent of the total domestic landings in the 50 states. Historically, only fish caught off of Alaska were included in this number. The apparent increase from prior years is due to the inclusion of fish caught off of Washington and Oregon for 2012.

Commercial landings by US fishermen at ports outside the 50 states along with Internal Water Processing (IWP) agreements (see glossary) provided an additional 562 million pounds (254,921 metric tons) valued at $530 million. This was an increase of 25 per cent, or 111 million pounds (50,440 metric tons) in quantity and an increase of $204 million (63 per cent) in value compared with 2011. Most of these landings consisted of tuna landed in American Samoa and other foreign ports. Note that improved foreign port and IWP reporting in 2012 resulted in a more complete dataset, and thus higher numbers, than are usually available at the time of publication. Use caution when comparing 2012 data to data from prior years.

Edible fish and shellfish landings in the 50 states were 7.5 billion pounds (3.4 million metric tons) in 2012—a decrease of 432 million pounds (195,954 metric tons) compared with 2011.

Landings for reduction and other industrial purposes were 2.2 billion pounds (978,000 metric tons) in 2012—an increase of 6 per cent compared with 2011.

The 2012 US marine recreational finfish catch (including fish kept and fish released (discarded) on the Atlantic, Gulf, and Pacific coasts (including Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico) was an estimated 380 million fish taken on an estimated 70 million fishing trips. The harvest (fish kept or released dead) was estimated at 140 million fish weighing over 203 million pounds.

World Landings

In 2011, the most recent year for which global data are available, world commercial fishery landings and aquaculture production were 156.2 million metric tons—an increase of 8.2 million metric tons compared with 2010. Aquaculture production increased by 3.7 million metric tons while fishery landings increased by 4.5 million tons.

China was the leading nation in both fishery landings and aquaculture production accounting for 35 per cent of the total harvest. India is the second leading producer with 6 per cent. Indonesia was the third with just over 5 per cent. Peru, The United States, and Viet Nam follow with 5 per cent, 4 per cent and 3 per cent of the global harvest, respectively.


The 2012 annual exvessel price index for edible fish increased by 4 per cent. Shellfish decreased by 3 per cent and industrial products increased by 14 per cent compared with 2011. Exvessel price indices increased for 18 out of 32 species groups being tracked, decreased for 14 species groups, and no product groups were unchanged. The skipjack tuna price index had the largest increase (112 per cent) while the sockeye salmon price index showed the largest decrease (17 per cent).

Processed Products

The estimated value of the 2012 domestic production of edible and nonedible fishery products was $10.3 billion, $394.3 million more than in 2011. The value of edible products was $9.5 billion—an increase of $324.5 million compared with 2011. The value of industrial products was $746.5 million in 2012—an increase of $70 million compared with 2011.

Foreign Trade

The total import value of edible and nonedible fishery products was $31.1 billion in 2012—an increase of $187 million compared with 2011. Imports of edible fishery products (product weight) were 5.4 billion pounds valued at $16.7 billion in 2012— a slight increase of 16.9 million pounds and an increase of $72 million compared with 2011. Imports of nonedible (i.e., industrial) products were $14.4 billion—an increase of $115 million compared with 2011.

Total export value of edible and nonedible fishery products was $27.3 billion in 2012—an increase of $1.1 billion compared with 2011. United States firms exported 3.3 billion pounds of edible products valued at $5.5 billion—remaining about the same, with a decrease of 11.4 million pounds and an increase of $28.5 million compared with 2011. Exports of nonedible products were valued at $21.8 billion, $1.1 billion more than 2011.


The US supply of edible fishery products (domestic landings plus imports, round weight equivalent, minus exports) was 11.6 billion pounds in 2012—a decrease of 539 million pounds compared with 2011. The supply of industrial fishery products was 906 million pounds in 2012—a decrease of 374 million pounds compared with 2011.

Per Capita Consumption

US consumption of fishery products was 14.4 pounds of edible meat per person in 2012, down 0.8 pounds from the 2011 per capita consumption of 15.0 pounds. Primarily this decrease resulted from a decrease in the domestic landings utilized for food (as opposed to industrial purposes) and a small increase in the US population from 2011.

Consumer Expenditures

US consumers spent an estimated $82.6 billion for fishery products in 2012. The 2012 total includes $55.2 billion in expenditures at food service establishments (restaurants, carry-outs, caterers, etc.); $26.8 billion in retail sales for home consumption; and $570 million for industrial fish products. By producing and marketing a variety of fishery products for domestic and foreign markets, the commercial marine fishing industry contributed $42 billion (in value added) to the US Gross National Product.

Further Reading

You can view the full report by clicking here.

February 2014

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