America’s commercial and recreational fisheries show continued stability and make a large contribution to the nation’s economy thanks to sustainable fisheries management policies, according to a new report from NOAA Fisheries.
U.S. fishermen landed 9.5 billion pounds of fish and shellfish, valued at $5.4 billion, in 2014, according to the new edition of NOAA Fisheries’ annual report, Fisheries of the United States 2014, released today. These figures are similar to those from 2013; both the volume and value continue to remain higher than the average for the past five years.
The report shows the total landings for pollock was up five percent since 2013 to 3.1 billion pounds, valued at $400 million. The report also shows that for the 18th consecutive year, the Alaska port of Dutch Harbor led the nation with the highest amount of seafood landed--761.8 million pounds, valued at $191.4 million. The Dutch Harbor catch was primarily walleye pollock, which accounted for 87 percent of the volume.
“Sustainable fisheries generate billions of dollars for our economy, help keep saltwater recreational fishing as one of our nation’s favorite past times, and help coastal communities remain economically resilient,” said Eileen Sobeck, assistant NOAA administrator for fisheries. “Seafood is big business in our country, and NOAA will continue to work as hard as we can to manage America’s fisheries, so our fishermen can continue to provide this important food source for all of us.”
For the 15th consecutive year, New Bedford, Massachusetts, had the highest valued catch – $328.8 million for 140 million pounds – due mostly to the high price sea scallops fetch on the market. Sea scallops accounted for more than 76.6 percent of the value of New Bedford landings.
Figures for recreational fishing activities remained strong; 10.4 million anglers took 68 million trips and caught nearly 392 million fish in 2014. Through a combination of survey methods, such as coastal household telephone surveys and dockside surveys of recreational fishermen, data shows that anglers released more than 60 percent of these fish alive. An estimated 157 million fish were kept, weighing 186 million pounds.
Recreational anglers caught 24 million pounds of striped bass in 2014, making it their top catch. Striped bass, bluefish, yellowfin tuna, dolphin fish and summer flounder were the top five recreational species ranked by pounds landed.
Marine aquaculture production in the U.S. has been steadily increasing in recent years, about 5 percent a year from 2008 to 2013. U.S. marine aquaculture production has an estimated value of $403 million. Figures for 2014 are not yet available.
The report also shows that the average American ate 14.6 pounds of fish and shellfish in 2014, essentially unchanged from 2013.