NOAA’s 2014 annual fisheries report is about 150 pages of fish numbers and data for the entire country. Scattered throughout are a couple of interesting facts.
For one? Imports and exports of seafood both increased this year.
We imported almost $36 billion worth of fish products, an increase of about $2.5 billion.
And then, America exported $30 billion worth of seafood last year, about $853 million more than in 2013. Richard Merrick, NOAA Fisheries Chief Scientist, says we also ate a little more fish last year.
“Our per capita consumption increased slightly, with each of us eating an average of 14.6 pounds of seafood last year.”
In terms of total consumption, that’s all the seafood eaten across the country, Statistician Alan Louther says America is now number two.
“We’ve historically been third. It’s China, Japan and the United States. The significance of that is just really that we’ve surpassed Japan.”
The report also confirms what most Alaskans in coastal communities witness every day: there’s a lot of seafood moving across our docks.
Dutch Harbor, Kodiak and the other Aleutian Islands ports combined took the number one, two and three spots in terms of the quantity of seafood moving across the docks in 2014. New Bedford Massachusetts had the largest value of fish at its port, followed by Dutch Harbor and Kodiak.
Naknek’s Port of Bristol Bay moved up in the rankings for 2014. NOAA says $135 million dollars’ worth of seafood crossed the docks, making it the number five port in the country for value. In terms of quantity, it was the number 10 port in the nation, with 133 million pounds landed there last year.
Some other fun numbers? Crab is the nation’s priciest catch: It was worth about $685.7 million last year. Salmon was number four, worth $616,658 million.
At 3.1 billion pounds, Pollock is the nation’s number one catch; and salmon is number five at 720 million pounds.
The report also looks at what happens to America’s catch. Processed fishery products, including imports, were worth $2 billion less last year than in 2013. Last year, processors made fewer salmon steaks and fillets, and less breaded shrimp, but more cod fillets and more fish sticks.
Locally, Ketchikan commercial landings totaled 87 million pounds in 2014, according to the NOAA report, with a value of about $45 million. That’s down quite a bit from the previous year, which saw 144 million pounds, valued at $76 million.