Americans ate more seafood last year, reaching the highest level since 2008.

“Seafood consumption is up quite a bit with the average American eating 16 pounds of fish and shellfish in 2017, up a significant 1.1 pounds since 2016.”

Ned Cyr is NOAA Fisheries director of Science and Technology. The numbers come from data in the  2017 Fisheries of the US Report released last week by NOAA Fisheries.

The list of seafood favorites is compiled each year by  the National Fisheries Institute.

Shrimp remained at the top of the list of favorites with Americans eating 4.4 pounds per person last year.  Salmon ranked second at 2.4 pounds, a 10.5 percent increase, followed by canned tuna, at 2.1 pounds.

Rounding out the top 10 were pollock, tilapia, catfish, crab, cod, clams and pangasius.

Market experts noted that there’s a shift in the favorites list.

In 2016, the top ten made up more than 90 percent of all the seafood Americans ate. Last year those favorites made up 84 percent.  That shows growth outside of the traditional favorites, said NFI President John Connelly.

Once again, the real growth in consumption came from farmed species, which increased 2.6 percent while wild caught species declined by 4.7 percent.

An analysis by John Sackton of SeafoodNews.com calls the big winners of increased purchases were shrimp, salmon, and cod.

Although cod consumption remained flat at about two-thirds of a pound per person, as a share of whitefish cod rose from 16 percent to 18 percent.

Americans’ 16 pounds of seafood pales in comparison to other countries.

Icelanders eat over 197 pounds of seafood; for the Japanese, it’s 154 pounds. South Koreans each at 130 pounds, for Norwegians it’s 112 pounds and in Spain, per capita consumption is 96 pounds.

Where in the world do they eat the most seafood?

At the tiny Maldives in the Indian Ocean where per capita consumption is over 300 pounds of seafood per year.

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