The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration today released its statistical snapshot of 2012 fish landings, noting that America’s commercial fishermen landed 9.6 billion pounds of seafood valued at $5.1 billion.
Dutch Harbor, Alaska, and New Bedford, Massachusetts remain the top commercial fishing ports.
The top five states by volume were Alaska, 5.3 billion pounds; Louisiana, 1.2 billion pounds; Virginia, 461.9 million pounds; Washington, 420.1 million pounds, and California, 358.2 million pounds. Alaska also ranked first among the top five states in value of landings, at $1.7 billion, followed by Massachusetts, $618.2 million; Maine, $448.5 million; Louisiana, $356.6 million, and Washington, $302 million.
Beneficiaries ranged from fish processors, icehouses, restaurants, grocery stores, bait and tackle shops, fuel stations and many other businesses related to commercial and recreational fisheries.
Still, to meet consumer demand, the United States continues to be a major importer of seafood. Over 90 percent of the seafood consumed in the United States is imported, measured by edible weight.
NOAA officials said this measure has been rising in recent years, reflecting an increase in imported seafood. However, the report noted, a significant portion of this imported seafood is caught by American fishermen, exported overseas for processing, and then reimported to the United States.
While seafood imports do appear to be rising, the exact figure and the significance of this figure is difficult to know, the report said. NOAA is investigating better methods to report consumption and imports, to better understand the significance of imported seafood