According to NMFS’ annual report, “Fisheries of the United States,” commercial landings showed an increase, but the value decreased in 2015 compared to 2014 numbers.

The report, released in late October, shows that 2015 landings reached 9.7 billion pounds (up 232 million pounds, 2.4 percent, from 2014) with $5.2 billion (down $244 million, 4.5 percent). The 2015 average ex-vessel price paid to fishermen was 54 cents per pound compared to 57 cents per pound in 2014.

The report’s findings show that landings increased in most regions, with only two regions showing lower numbers than in 2014. The Middle and South Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico and Alaska saw increased landings, while the West Coast and New England saw decreases.

New Bedford, Mass., captured the value crown for the 16th consecutive year, bringing in $322 million for 124 million pounds — mostly as a result of the sea scallop fishery, which fetches high prices on the market. Sea scallops accounted for 76 percent of their value landings. New England as a whole saw a decrease in volume but a slight increase in value, from 642.67 million pounds worth $1.20 billion in 2014 to 590.99 million pounds worth $1.24 million.

Dutch Harbor/Unalaska, Alaska, landed the largest volume for the 19th consecutive year with 787 million pounds valued at $218 million. Walleye pollock accounted for 88 percent of the volume and 44 percent of the value. Alaska overall saw an increase in landings and value, from 5.67 billion pounds worth $1.71 billion in 2014 to 6.04 billion pounds worth $1.76 billion. The entire Pacific Coast saw landings and value drop from 6.88 billion pounds worth $2.48 billion in 2014 to 6.79 billion pounds worth $2.3 billion.

The Mid-Atlantic saw landings and value increase from 601.11 million pounds worth $470.8 million in 2014 to 641.56 million pounds worth $511.43 million.

The South Atlantic showed landings and value increases too, from 103.76 million pounds worth $184.79 million in 2014 to 109.3 million pounds worth $214.4 million.

The Gulf Coast saw an increase in landings but a decrease in value, the opposite of last year’s report. The region went from 1.2 billion pounds worth $989.4 million in 2014 to 1.53 billion pounds worth just $816.5 million. Florida’s West Coast and Mississippi enjoyed volume and value increases, while Louisiana and Texas had an increase in volume but decrease in value, and Alabama saw both volume and value decrease.

 

Samuel Hill is the former associate editor for National Fisherman. He is a graduate of the University of Southern Maine where he got his start in journalism at the campus’ newspaper, the Free Press. He has also written for the Bangor Daily News, the Outline, Motherboard and other publications about technology and culture.

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