According to the latest NOAA report, U.S. seafood landings reached a 17-year high in 2011. The value of landings also increased during the same time period.
According to the report, Fisheries of the United States 2011, U.S. commercial fishermen landed 10.1 billion pounds of fish and shellfish in 2011, valued at $5.3 billion, an increase over 2010 of 1.9 billion pounds and more than $784 million. Much of the increase is due to higher catches of Gulf menhaden, Alaska pollock, and Pacific hake (whiting).
The Alaska port of Dutch Harbor-Unalaska led the nation with the highest amount of fish landed for the 15th consecutive year. For the 12th consecutive year, New Bedford, Mass. had the highest valued catch, due mostly to the sea scallop fishery.
In New England, several key groundfish stocks have declined unexpectedly, leading the Department of Commerce to declare a disaster for groundfish fishermen on Sept. 13. Similar announcements were made for chinook salmon in Alaskaâ€™s Yukon and Kuskokwin rivers and Cook Inlet, and for the oyster and blue crab fisheries in Mississippi.
Catches throughout the Gulf of Mexico rebounded in 2011 to the highest volume since 1999, following a curtailed 2010 season due to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
The full fishing season in 2011 produced commercial landings of Gulf menhaden that were 66 percent higher than 2010 landings, with Gulf fishermen bringing in more than 1.6 billion pounds of menhaden valued at $110 million.
Gulf shrimp landings rose 20 percent, from 176 million pounds valued at $338 million in 2010 to 212 million pounds valued at $418 million in 2011.
This article was originally published to commercial-fishing.org: September 25, 2012