Dutch Harbor is Top Fishing Port for 22nd Year

Dutch Harbor retained its title as the nation’s top fishing port for volume for a 22nd year in the latest Fisheries of the US report issued by NOAA Fisheries, with 763 million pounds landed in 2018.

Alaska led all states in volume with landings of 5.4 billion pounds, followed by: Louisiana, 1.0 billion pounds; Washington, 590.0 million pounds; Virginia, 362.5 million pounds; and Mississippi, 320.3 million pounds.

New Bedford, Massachusetts, was the leading US port for value for the 19th consecutive year.

Alaska led all states in value of landings with $1.8 billion, followed by: Massachusetts, $647.2 million; Maine, $587.4 million; Louisiana, $377.1 million; and Washington, $346.4 million.

The annual federal update is described by Cisco Werner, chief scientist at NOAA Fisheries, as “a yearbook of fishery statistics on commercial landings and values, recreational fishing, aquaculture production, imports and exports and per capita consumption.”

Overall, Werner said, during a teleconference on the report, “US fishermen landed 9.4 billion pounds valued at about $5.6 billion, an increase of $150 million, or 2.8 percent from 2017. That’s on par with recent years with economic benefits both up and down depending on the seafood supply chain.”

Top species for value overall nationally were Alaska Pollock, $1.98 billion for 1.6 billion pounds; shrimp, $990 million, 305 million pounds; sockeye salmon, $940 million, 193 million pounds; tuna, $836 million, 384 million pounds; and cod, $745 million, 292 million pounds.

Total domestic commercial landings of salmon were 576 million pounds valued at $598.1 million, down 432.2 million pounds (43 percent) and $89.7 million (13 percent) compared with 2017. Alaska accounted for 97 percent of total landings; Washington, 3 percent; California, Oregon and the Great Lakes, less than 1 percent.

Sockeye salmon landings were 265.3 million pounds, valued at $351.5 million, a decrease in pounds of 26.3 million or 9 percent, but an increase in value of $27.8 million, or 9 percent, compared with 2017.

Alaska landings were 556.8 million pounds valued at $553.5 million, down 429.1 million pounds, or 44 percent and $92.2 million or 14 percent, compared with 2017.

Washington salmon landings were 17 million pounds valued at $31 million, down 3.4 million pounds or 17 percent, and $522,000, or 2 percent, compared with 2017.

Oregon salmon landings were 951,000 pounds valued at $5.7 million, down 227,000 pounds or 19 percent, but an increase in value of $147,000, or 3 percent, compared with 2017.

California salmon landings were 1 million pounds valued at $7.6 million, an increase of 481,000 pounds, or 85 percent, and $2.8 million or 59 per cent compared with 2017. Chinook salmon were the principal species landed in that state.

Commercial landings of sablefish were 38.7 million pounds valued at $110.4 million, up by 958,000 pounds or 3 percent, but with a decrease in value of $33 million, 23 percent, compared with 2017. Alaska landings were up to 27.2 million pounds, an increase of 6 percent. Landings decreased in Washington to 2.8 million pounds, down 2 percent and $6.6 million, down 26 percent. The 2018 Oregon catch as 5.6 million pounds, up 1 percent, but value dropped to $11.8 million, down 24 percent. California landings of 3.2 million pounds and $6.4 million represented a drop of 17 percent I volume and 29 percent in value.

Dungeness crab landings were 68.3 million pounds valued at $239.3 million, up 7 million pounds or 11 percent and valued at $26.7 million, up 13 percent over 2017. Oregon landings of 23.1 million pounds, up 22 percent, led all states with 34 percent of the total landings, while Washington landings of 21.2 million pounds, down 22 percent, comprised 31 percent of total landings. California landings were 18.8 million pounds up 46 percent, and Alaska landings were 5.3 million pounds, up 150 percent.

King crab landings were 11.2 million pounds valued at $67.2 million, down 1.7 million pounds, or 13 percent and worth $14.1 million, down 17 percent.

Snow crab landings were 18.9 million pounds valued at $56.5 million, down 2.5 million pounds or 12 percent, and $1.4 million, 2 percent, from 2017.

NOAA Fisheries spokesman John Ewald also noted that U.S. aquaculture production was estimated at 626 million pounds in 2017, a small fraction of the 9.9 billion pounds of wild caught seafood. However, because of the focus on high value species, the $1.5 billion value in 2017 of US aquaculture accounts for 21 percent of the value of total US seafood production, he said.

NOAA Fisheries does not have information on how much imported seafood comes from aquaculture because the agency is reliant on the import statistics derived from US Customs entry documents, he said. These documents classify all imports using the Harmonized Tariff Schedule, developed by the US International Trade Commission (https://hts.usitc.gov/current)

“These categories are inconsistent on differentiating between aquaculture and wild. For some species like salmon, and oysters there separate categories for aquaculture. For other species like shrimp, or tilapia there is no division. Without being able to separate out farmed from wild consistently in the trade data, we can’t make a reliable estimate,” Ewald said.

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that in 2016, globally, aquaculture products accounted for about 53 percent of consumption.