New England Fisheries

NOAA Fisheries Releases Fishery Stats Yearbook

A fishing boat moves through a New England harbor. Image via The Pew Charitable Trusts.

NOAA Fisheries recently released its Fisheries of the United States, 2018 report, an annual “yearbook” of fishery statistics. According to the agency, the report “provides a snapshot of data, primarily at the national level, on U.S. recreational catch and commercial fisheries landings and value.”

In 2018, overall the U.S. commercial fisheries and seafood industry produced 9.4 billion pounds of seafood valued at $5.6 billion, representing a 5.3 percent decrease and a 2.8 percent increase, respectively, compared to 2017. The top five highest value species groups included lobster, crabs, salmon, scallops, and shrimp. Nationally, there were also 194 million recreational fishing trips in 2018, and the value of aquaculture grew even though production slightly declined.

Here are some key New England takeaways from the report:

  • New Bedford, MA was the highest value U.S. port for the 19th consecutive year, where 114 million pounds of seafood landed was valued at $431 million.
  • More seafood was landed in Massachusetts than any other New England state, though Maine was a relatively close second.
  • In 2018, 2.2 million pounds of Atlantic cod valued at $4.8 million were landed in the North Atlantic (New England and Mid-Atlantic regions), representing a 16% increase in landings and an 8% increase in value compared to 2017.
  • For the 37th consecutive year, the most American lobster was landed in Maine, representing 78% of the total species value.
  • Massachusetts, along with New Jersey, led in landings for surf clams, ocean quahog, and scallops.

And some other facts that we found interesting:

  • Commercial harvest from the Atlantic (Maine to Georgia) accounted for 14% of national landings and 37% of the national value.
  • In 2018, 76% of commercially caught seafood was used for human food, 17% was used for fish meal and oil, 2% was canned, 3% was used for bait and animal food, 1% was cured, and less than 1% was canned for animal food.
  • The U.S. imported 6.1 billion pounds of seafood worth $22.4 billion but only exported 2.9 billion pounds worth $5.6 billion.
  • Oyster production was the most valuable aquaculture species (36 million pounds; $186 million).

The full report and other related materials can be found here.


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