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February 19, 2018 12:40 pm EST
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U.S. Seafood Consumption Declines Slightly in 2005; Dutch Harbor/Unalaska and New Bedford Remain Top U.S. Fishing Ports

NOAA has just released its annual publication, Fisheries of the United States. Americans ate 16.2 pounds of fish and shellfish per person in 2005, a two percent decrease from the 2004 consumption figure of 16.6 pounds. Despite the decline in consumption, consumer expenditures for seafood products increased by $3.3 billion, representing a five percent increase for a total of $65.2 billion. The commercial marine fishing industry contributed $32.9 billion to the U.S. Gross National Product in 2005, up from $31.6 billion in 2004. In 2005, Americans spent $44.5 billion in seafood restaurants, a $1.7 billion increase over 2004. Americans also purchased $20.5 billion worth of seafood for home consumption, an increase of $1.6 billion over 2004.

Despite the slight decrease in 2005, overall seafood consumption in the United States has shown an upward trend over the past five years. The United States imports roughly 80 percent of its seafood, and remains the third largest global consumer of fish and shellfish, behind Japan and China. Shrimp continues to be the top seafood consumed in the United States.

Commercial fishermen unloaded 887.6 million pounds of fish and shellfish in 2005 at the port of Dutch Harbor-Unalaska, AK, making it the country's top port for landings for 17 consecutive years. This represents a 1.2 million pound increase in landings over 2004. Intracoastal City, LA , jumped from fifth to the number two position, while Reedville, VA, slipped into the number three position. Cameron , LA , dropped off the top 10 list to rank 50th, with landings declining from 243.1 million pounds in 2004 to 10.6 million pounds in 2005. The port of Los Angeles is new to the top 10 list, now ranking 9th. Total domestic commercial landings for 2005 were 9.6 billion pounds, valued at $3.9 billion.

The port of New Bedford, MA, once again claimed the top spot for value of landings, setting a new record at $282.5 million – an increase of $75 million from 2004. The last record high value was set by Dutch Harbor-Unalaksa in 1994 at $224 million. This was the sixth year in a row that the dollar value of landings at New Bedford increased. Dutch Harbor-Unalaska was ranked second in value of landings at $166.1 million.

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