Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Dutch Harbor, New Bedford Hold Steady as Top Fishing Ports

Dutch Harbor retained first place as the nation’s top commercial fishing port by volume in 2013, while New Bedford, MA., led all other ports for value in the latest annual report on the status of United States fisheries, released today.

Deliveries of commercial seafood to Dutch Harbor in 2013 totaled 753 million pounds, up slightly from 752 million pounds a year earlier, while at New Bedford, MA., the overall value of seafood delivered slipped from $411 million in 2012 to $379 million in 2013.

The 2013 edition of Fisheries of the United States, compiled by the National Marine Fisheries Service, notes that U.S. fishermen in 2013 landed 9.9 billion pounds of fish and shellfish, an increase of 245 million pounds from 2012. Valued at $5.5 billion, these landings represent an increase of $388 million from 2012, the report said.

The average American, meanwhile ate 14.5 pounds of fish and shellfish in 2013, essentially unchanged from 2012.

Overall U.S. commercial landings of fish and shellfish for human food rose steadily since 2004, which 7,794 million pounds landed were valued at $3,611 million. By 2013, those landings reached 8,053 million pounds, valued at $5,292 million.

Landings for industrial purposes meanwhile dropped from 1,889 million pounds in 2004 to 1,827 million pounds in 2013, while the value rose from $145 million in 2004 to $198 million in 2013.

Eileen Sobeck, assistant National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration administrator for NOAA Fisheries, noted the importance of the commercial and recreational fishing sectors to the national economy, including job creation.

The report shows that while national totals of fish and shellfish landings remained about the same, total landings of wild salmon topped one billion pounds, up 68 percent from 2012, for a new record. The report also shows that for the 17th consecutive year, the Alaska port of Dutch Harbor led the nation with the highest amount of seafood landed, primarily walleye pollock.

Harvesters delivering to Dutch Harbor brought in 753 million pounds valued at $197 million, the report said.

And for the 14th consecutive year, New Bedford, MA, had the highest valued catch- 130 million pounds, valued at $379 million – due mostly to the highly valued sea scallop fishery. Sea scallops accounted for more than 81 percent of the value of the New Bedford landings.

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