Report: U.S. seafood landings remain near all-time high levels

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Texas hunting and fishing news and updates
U.S. commercial anglers landed 9.6 billion pounds of fish and shellfish in 2012 valued at $5.1 billion, according to Fisheries of the United States 2012, an annual report released by NOAA.

The value and pounds of fish and shellfish caught remain higher than the average for the previous 10 years of 9.2 billion pounds and $4.1 billion, although this represents a small decrease from the high level of landings and value in 2011, according to a news release.

Nearly 9.4 million recreational saltwater anglers in the United States took more than 70 million marine fishing trips in 2012 and caught almost 380 million fish, releasing 63 percent alive. Speckled trout was the top catch for recreational anglers, with 42.6 million fish caught in 2012. Atlantic croaker, black sea bass, summer flounder and redfish were the other most common catches.

While the commercial and recreational trends remain high, aquaculture contributes only 5 percent of production, according to the release. Washington and Maine lead the nation in marine finfish farming, primarily Atlantic salmon. Washington, Virginia and Louisiana lead in shellfish farming, primarily oysters.

TheĀ  report also shows that the Alaskan port of Dutch Harbor led the nation with the highest amount of fish landed — primarily pollock — for the 16th consecutive year. Dutch Harbor fishers landed 752 million pounds, up from 706 million pounds in 2011.

For the 13th consecutive year, New Bedford, Mass., had the highest valued catch, due mostly to the sea scallop fishery. Sea scallops accounted for more than 80 percent of the value of New Bedford landings.

The report also shows that the average American ate 14.4 pounds of fish and shellfish in 2012, a 4 percent drop from the 2011 figure of 15 pounds. Altogether, Americans consumed 4.5 billion pounds of seafood.

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