American Fisheries Remain Strong Economic Contributor

HYANNIS – Commercial and recreational fishing in the U.S. continues to be a strong contributor to the nation’s economy, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The agency presented its annual fisheries report Wednesday and says 9.6 billion pounds of seafood was landed in 2016, valued at $5.3 billion – a 2 percent increase from 2015.

NOAA Fisheries Office of Science and Technology Director Ned Cyr said ports also remain an integral part of vibrant coastal communities.

The city of New Bedford brought in the highest valued catch for the 17th straight year, mainly due to highly valued sea scallop fishery.

For the 20th consecutive year, Dutch Harbor, Alaska landed the largest catch in the U.S.

“All of these landing translate to jobs and a long standing tradition of dining experiences,” Cyr said.

The average American ate 14.9 pounds of seafood in 2016, which was down from 15.5 pounds the previous year.

U.S. dietary guidelines recommend 8-12 ounces of seafood species per week or 26 to 39 pounds per year.

Cyr said the numbers for the total commercial catch and its value remain consistent with previous years this decade.

The nation still continues to import most of its seafood as 5.8 billion pounds came into the country in 2016 which was an increase from 5.7 billion pounds the previous year.

The U.S also produced 627 million pounds of aquaculture last year, which was valued at $1.4 billion. Harvested species accounted for 21 percent of the total value of seafood production.

“The top aquaculture species in the U.S. are oysters, clams and salmon,” Cyr said.

Recreational fishing also remained one of the country’s favorite pastimes and a large contributor to the U.S. economy.

Almost 10 million anglers fished in coastal waters on nearly 63 million trips in 2016. Anglers caught more than 371 million fish, releasing 61 percent.

Recreational saltwater fishing contributed $36 billion to the economy.

“Striped sea bass remained the top harvested catch by weight,” Cyr said.

Cyr said U.S. fisheries are among the world’s most sustainable.

“And they are a global model of success in responsible fisheries management,” he said.


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