Fishing and seafood is big business for United States. Marine and
coastal fisheries contribute billions of dollars to the national
economy, support 1.8 million jobs, and keep our ports and waterways open
Across the nation, U.S. fishermen landed 9.7 billion pounds of fish
and shellfish valued at $5.2 billion, a volume and value similar to
recent years. The highest value U.S. commercial species were lobster
($679.2 million), crab ($678.7 million), shrimp ($488.4 million), salmon
($460.2 million), and Alaska (walleye) pollock ($441.7 million). By
volume, the nation's largest commercial fishery remains Alaska (walleye)
pollock, which had landings of 3.3 billion pounds (up 4% from 2015), trailed by Atlantic and Gulf menhaden, which accounted for
1.6 billion pounds (up 29%).
‘There has been continued stability and sustainability in United States commercial and recreational fisheries, suggested a new study.’
Eileen Sobeck, assistant NOAA administrator for
fisheries, said, "Thanks to longstanding legislation and continued innovation
in fisheries science and management, we are seeing real returns on our
nation's efforts to end overfishing and make our fisheries more
The report shows that for the 19th consecutive year, the Alaska port
of Dutch Harbor led the nation with the highest amount of seafood
landed - 787 million pounds, valued at $218 million. New Bedford,
Massachusetts, had the highest valued catch from one port - $322 million
for 124 million pounds, due mostly to the high price sea scallops fetch
on the market, which accounted for more than 76% of this value.
Along the West Coast, however, a number of fisheries experienced
declines. The Pacific sardine fishery was closed due to low abundance
estimates. The Dungeness crab fishery also saw a closure due to high
levels of domoic acid, which can be poisonous to humans. Other species
like loligo squid and Pacific hake (whiting) also saw declines in
catches, potentially due to changing ocean conditions.
Saltwater recreational fishing remained strong with 8.9 million
anglers making nearly 61 million trips, resulting in a catch of more
than 350 million fish with 57% reported released. Striped bass
remains the top harvested catch among saltwater recreational anglers,
followed by yellowfin tuna, mahi mahi, bluefish and red drum.
The report also shows that the average American ate 15.5 pounds of
fish and shellfish in 2015, a 0.9 pound increase from last year. U.S.
dietary guidelines recommend eating 8-12 ounces of seafood each week for
a healthy diet.
Aquaculture figures for 2015 are not yet available, but for
perspective, the U.S. aquaculture industry, whose top-produced marine
species include oysters, clams, and Atlantic salmon, generated 608
million pounds of seafood valued at $1.3 billion in 2014. This equates
to 20% of the value and 6% of the volume of total U.S.
production of fishery products.