America celebrates its birthday on the 4th of July, known as Independence Day.

It commemorates the United States declaring independence from Great Britain on that date in 1776. It’s fitting to salute our nation’s oldest and most independent industries – commercial fishing.

Think of this:  Fishermen are our world’s only remaining hunter/gatherers of a wild capture resource.

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America’  seafood industry directly employs more than 250,000 workers who  catch and process nearly 10 billion pounds of  fish and shellfish each year, valued at $35 billion to the nation’s gross domestic production.

More than half of all U.S. seafood landings comes from Alaska-  an impressive figure for a state whose population amounts to just two tenths of one percent of the nation’s total.

Dutch Harbor is the nation’s number one fishing port and Kodiak ranks at number two

Roughly 7,500 fishermen are out on the water each month in Alaska, according to the Labor Dept, and the number tops 20,000 a month during the summer.

Seafood harvesting and processing account for nearly 10 percent of Alaska’s private sector jobs, putting over 60,000 direct jobs and thousands more indirectly,  making it the largest private-sector employer in the state.

As far as seafood favorites: Americans are eating more seafood but their tastes have remained pretty much the same: shrimp tops the most popular list followed by salmon and canned tuna.

Hats off to the USA and America’s fishing industry!