Dutch Harbor/Unalaska, AK 

Dutch Harbor has retained its title as the nation’s top fishing port. It was announced last Friday in the annual Fisheries of the U.S. Report for 2018 by NOAA Fisheries. Cisco Werner is chief scientist –

“Dutch Harbor, Alaska, keeps its longtime title for now 22 years in a row as our nation’s top fishing port with 763 million pounds landed, valued at $182 million. of that volume, 91% was Alaska pollock, the nation’s largest fishery by volume.”

Werner said the U.S. seafood industry increased in value.

“U.S. fishermen landed 9.4 billion pounds valued at about $5.6 billion, an increase of $150 million, or 2.8% from 2017. That’s on par with recent years with economic benefits both up and down depending on the seafood supply chain.”  

New Bedford, Massachusetts claimed its 19th consecutive title of most valuable fishing port at $431 million, due mostly to sea scallops.

Naknek ranked as the nation’s second most valuable port for fishermen with landings worth $195 million.

Empire-Venice, Louisiana held the second spot for fish volume (569 million pounds).

The “Aleutians” was third (539 million), thanks to Trident’s plant at Akutan, the largest processing facility in North America.

Kodiak fell to fourth place due in great part to the Gulf cod collapse,  with landings dropping from 530 million pounds to 391 million in 2018.

Naknek also ranked #8 for landings at 191 million pounds.

In all, 11 Alaska ports made the list of Top 50 US ports for landings including Bristol Bay, Cordova, Sitka, Ketchikan, Petersburg, Sitka and Kenai.

Other highlights:  Alaska provided 58% of all U.S. wild caught seafood (5.4 billion pounds), more than all the other states combined – and led in the value of the catch at $1.8 billion, 32% of total U.S. value.

Alaska accounted for 97% of U.S. salmon landings; the average Alaska price per pound for all species combined was 99 cents, an increase of 34 cents from the previous year.

The 2018 average price paid to U.S. fishermen across the board was 59 cents per pound compared to 55 cents per pound in 2017.

The six highest valued U.S. seafoods were lobsters ($684 million), crab ($645 million), salmon ($598 million), scallops ($541 million), shrimp ($496 million) and Alaska pollock ($451 million).

The value of U.S. farmed seafood totaled $1.5 billion in 2017, about 21% of the value of total seafood production. The top marine aquaculture species were oysters, clams and salmon.

As much as 85%-95% of seafood consumed in the U.S. comes from elsewhere. For 2018, the U.S. imported $22.4 billion worth of edible seafood and exported $5.6 billion, a $16.8 million trade deficit.

Production of U.S. seaweed increased 186% from 2016-2017 to (just) 69,053 pounds valued at $68,698. Data indicate the rapid rise in farmed seaweed production will continue. (Kelp production from Kodiak reached nearly 90,000 pounds in 2018.)

Shrimp still tops!  Salmon remained as America’s second favorite seafood, following shrimp.

Third on the Top 10 list compiled by the National Fisheries Institute was tuna, then tilapia and Alaska pollock.

The final three favorites were catfish, crab and clams.

Americans ate slightly more seafood– 16.1 pounds, the highest per capita consumption since 2007 and a 0.1 pound increase from 2017.

The Fisheries of the U.S. report also includes recreational fishing, aquaculture, and imports and exports.