Fisheries of the United States, 2019

“Holding Ground,” by Peter Ralston. Image courtesy of the Ralston Gallery, Rockport, Maine.

On May 20, NOAA released its 2019 Fisheries of the United States Report, providing fisheries statistics, including commercial landings and value, for the country. In 2019, U.S. commercial fishermen landed 9.3 billion pounds of seafood valued at $5.5 billion. These figures are essentially unchanged from 2018, with a less than 1% decline in volume and 2% in value.

For the 23rd consecutive year, Dutch Harbor, Alaska led the nation as the port with the highest volume of seafood landed (763 million pounds valued at $190 million). For the 20th consecutive year, New Bedford, Massachusetts had the highest valued catch (116 million pounds valued at $451 million), due in large part to the highly valued sea scallop fishery. Sea scallops account for 84% of the value of landings in New Bedford.

In 2019, New England showed a 14.9% decrease in landings volume, driven primarily by reductions in the herring and lobster fisheries. The South Atlantic, on the other hand, had a 13.4% increase in landings volume, driven by increases in North Carolina and the east coast of Florida.
Stonington was ranked 22nd in the nation based on value, landing $51 million in 2019 versus $60 million in 2018. Vinalhaven ranked 28th in value, bringing in $40 million versus $39 million in 2018. Other Maine ports in the top 50 included Portland (40th), Friendship (45th) and Beals Island (48th).

Lobster was the second most valuable seafood landed in 2019, worth $668 million, with salmon ranking first at $790 million. Lobster ranked tenth in volume with 130 million pounds of lobster harvested. Maine.

The United States continues to be a major importer of seafood. Between 70% and 85% of the seafood consumed in the United States (by edible weight) is imported. This percentage has been rising in recent years. A significant portion of this imported seafood is caught by American fishermen, exported overseas for processing, and then reimported to the United States. Exports decreased slightly in 2019 compared to 2018.

Lobster exports declined from 115,981,000 in 2018 to 91,947,000. In 2019, 61% of lobster was exported to Canada, followed by 12% to China, 6% to Hong Kong, 4% to Italy and 3% to Taiwan.

Top Ports By Volume of Commercial Landings: 

1. Alaska (5.6 billion pounds) 

2. Louisiana (896.4 million pounds) 

3. Washington (544.4 million pounds) 

4. Virginia (390.6 million pounds) 

5. Mississippi (340.8 million pounds)

Top Ports By Value of Commercial Landings: 

1. Alaska ($1.7 billion) 

2. Massachusetts ($679.3 million) 

3. Maine ($577.9 million) 

4. Washington ($308.5 million) 

5. Louisiana ($305.3 million) 

 2018 vs 2019 Lobster Exports2018 2019 
Canada 63,177,000 55,709,000 
China 20,005,000 10,994,000 
China-Hong Kong 7,116,000 5,189,000 
Italy 6,104,000 4,119,000 
Taiwan 2,061,000 2,553,000 
Spain 2,941,000 1,880,000 
South Korea 2,020,000 1,546,000 
Vietnam 3,830,000 1,511,000 
France 1,858,000 1,077,000 
Other 6,867,000 7,369,000 
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