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NOAA: Seafood Landings & Value Increased In 2010

by 5m Editor
9 September 2011, at 1:00am

US - US commercial fishermen landed 8.2 billion pounds of seafood in 2010, valued at $4.5 billion, an increase of 200 million pounds and more than $600 million 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.

"These increases in fish landings and value are good news for our nations fishermen and for fishing communities, where jobs depend on healthy fish stocks, said Eric Schwaab, assistant NOAA administrator for NOAAs Fisheries Service.

We know fishermen are making sacrifices now to rebuild fish populations, and these efforts, combined with good science and management, support sustainable jobs for Americans.

Commercial and recreational fishing are integral to the nations social and economic fabric. In NOAAs most recent economic report, commercial and recreational fisheries generated $166 billion in sales impacts, contributed $72 billion to the Gross National Product and supported 1.4 million jobs in the fishing sector and across the broader economy.

The report, 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, Massachusetts, had the highest valued catch, due in large part to the sea scallop fishery.

Last year, commercial fishermen unloaded 515.2 million pounds of fish and shellfish in Dutch Harbor-Unalaska, an increase of nearly 10 million pounds over 2009 and a rise in the dockside value of $3.4 million to $163 million. Alaska claims three of the top 10 ports for landings volume and six of the top 10 ports for landings value. More than half of the seafood Americans eat from U.S. waters is caught in Alaska.

The port of New Bedford took top place for values of landings, bringing in $306 million in 2010, a 22.8-per cent increase over 2009, and the highest landing values in 30 years for that port. While there was a substantial increase in value, the total amount of seafood landed in New Bedford decreased by 36.6 million pounds to 133.4 million pounds. The increase in value was driven by a 28 per cent increase in the per-pound price of sea scallops.

Sea scallops, which account for 22 per cent of the volume and 77 per cent of the value of landings in New Bedford, were declared overfished in 1998. As a result of the cooperation of fishermen and a rebuilding plan that included temporarily reducing fishing effort, restricting some gear, and closing some areas, the population was fully rebuilt in 2001, and is now the top-valued fishery in the country.

Fishermen at the nearby port of Gloucester, Massachusetts, also landed their top value in the last 30 years, with landings valued at $56.6 million, an increase of 11 per cent from 2009.

All coastal regions of the country saw increases in total value of fisheries landings in 2010. The Gulf of Mexico region, which suffered the nations worst marine oil spill in 2010 and saw landings drop by 19 per cent, achieved a modest two per cent 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 per cent of the seafood consumed in the US is imported, measured by edible weight, up four per cent 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 per cent of its domestically produced seafood, measured by live weight, which represents an increase of four per cent over 2009.

Almost half of imported seafood comes from aquaculture, or farmed seafood. 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 Organisation. Americas aquaculture industry, though vibrant and diverse, currently meets less than five per cent of US seafood demand.

While we are turning a corner on ending overfishing on wild stocks, this report shows the need for U.S. aquaculture to grow and complement wild fisheries, said Mr Schwaab. Sustainable domestic aquaculture creates jobs in our coastal communities, helps meet the demand for healthy seafood, supports exports to global markets and helps us narrow the trade gap.

Further Reading

- You can view the full report by clicking here.

5m Editor