Salmon scores highest value fishery; New Bedford and Dutch Harbor keep port titles

U.S. seafood landings volume and value were up in 2017, according to NMFS’ annual report “Fisheries of the United States.”

The report, released on Thursday, Dec. 2, shows that U.S. commercial fishing fleets landed 9.9 billion pounds of fish and shellfish in 2017 (up 344 million pounds or 3.6 percent from 2016) with a value of $5.4 billion (up $110 million or 2.1 percent).

Overall, the highest value U.S. commercial species were salmon ($688 million), crabs ($610 million), lobsters ($594 million), shrimp ($531 million), scallops ($512 million), and Alaska pollock ($413 million).

Alaska led all states in volume of landings of 6.0 billion pounds, followed by Louisiana, 890.6 million pounds; Washington, 665.9 million pounds; Virginia, 344.0 million pounds; and Mississippi, 311.0 million pounds.

Alaska also led in value of landings with $1.8 billion, followed by Massachusetts ($605.3 million), Maine ($511.3 million), Louisiana ($354.3 million) and Washington ($313.7 million).

New Bedford, Mass., captured the title for highest value port for the 18th consecutive year, landing 111 million pounds of seafood (ranked 13th highest volume) for a whopping value of $389 million. New England as a whole saw a slight decrease in both landings and value, landing 555.66 million pounds worth $1.27 billion (down from 595.09 million pounds worth $1.33 billion in 2016).

Dutch Harbor, Alaska, landed the largest volume of any port for the 21st consecutive year with 769 million pounds valued at $173 million — good for the runner-up value spot behind New Bedford. Overall, Alaska fisheries saw an increase in both value and landings. Alaska fishermen landed just over 6 billion pounds valued at $1.76 billion (up from 5.59 billion pounds worth $1.55 billion in 2016). The entire Pacific Coast saw a bump in both categories, landing 7.18 billion pounds of seafood worth $2.44 billion compared to 6.52 billion pounds worth $2.24 billion the previous year.

Mid-Atlantic fisheries saw a landings increase but value decrease in 2017, landing 620.32 million pounds worth 508.06 million compared to 577.38 million pounds worth $548.68 million in 2016.

South Atlantic fisheries increased landings and value, hauling 121.93 million pounds worth $223.45 million, compared to 109.97 million pounds worth $200.73 million pounds in 2016.

The Gulf Coast had a decrease in landings and value, falling to 1.39 billion pounds worth $855.59 million from 1.72 billion pounds worth $856.95 million in 2016.

About the author

Samuel Hill

Samuel Hill is 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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