NOAA: US commercial fishing generated USD 153 billion in 2014

Published on
May 27, 2016

A new report from the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) estimates that the commercial fishing and seafood industry in the United States generated USD 153 billion (EUR 137 billion) in sales in 2014, supported 1,390,000 jobs and provided USD 42 billion (EUR 37.7 billion) in income and USD 64 billion (EUR57.4 billion) in value-added impacts nationwide.

The annual report, Fisheries Economics of the United States 2014, provides a broad look at economic statistics related to U.S. commercial and recreational fishing activities.

NOAA looked at U.S. harvesters, processors, dealers, wholesalers and retailers to arrive at its estimated sales total, which it said was up 8 percent from 2013. Industry-wide, retailers generated the largest economic impact, contributing 678,000 jobs, USD 35 billion (EUR 31.4 billion) in sales impacts, USD 14 billion (EUR 12.6 billion) in income and USD 19 billion (EUR 17 billion) in value-added. Importers generated the second-largest economic impacts, providing 227,000 jobs, USD 62 billion (EUR 55.6 billion) in sales, USD 10 billion (9 billion) in income and USD 19 billion (USD 17 billion) in value-added impacts. Seafood dealers and processors contributed 241,000 jobs, USD 33 billion (EUR 29.6 billion) in sales, USD 10 billion (EUR 9 billion) in income, and USD 14 billion (12.6 billion) in value-added impacts to the national economy.

"Commercial and recreational fishing make a significant impact on the U.S. economy," Eileen Sobeck, assistant administrator for NOAA Fisheries, said. "As we celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, it's fitting that we continue to improve our understanding of these valuable marine sectors in order to guide science-based management. This ensures both sustainable fish populations and economic opportunities for those involved in the commercial, recreational, and seafood industries."

The report also estimates that commercial fishermen in the U.S. harvested 9.4 billion pounds of finfish and shellfish in 2014, earning USD 5.5 billion (4.9 billion) for their catch. Contributing the most to total U.S. revenue were shrimp (USD 702 million, EUR 629 million), followed by Pacific salmon (USD 617 million, EUR 564 million), American lobster (USD 567 million, EUR 509 million) and sea scallop (USD 424 million, EUR 380 million). The top three species in terms of pounds landed included walleye pollock (3.1 billion pounds), menhaden (1.2 billion) and Pacific salmon (720 million). Combined, these species made up more than half of U.S. landings in 2014.

In 2014, U.S. commercial fishermen landed 9.4 billion pounds of finfish and shellfish – a decrease of 4 percent from 2013. Finfish landings totaled 8.2 billion pounds in 2014, down 4 percent.

According to NOAA, commercial fishermen in Alaska caught the most salmon (683 million pounds) and earned USD 546 million (EUR 490 million) for their catch in 2014. About 20 million pounds of tuna was caught in Hawaii, generating USD 74 million (EUR 66 million) in landings revenue. Maine fishermen contributed the most to American lobster landings (124 million pounds) and earned USD 460 million (EUR 412 million) for their catch in 2014. In Massachusetts, sea scallopers harvested 21 million pounds landed and earned USD 272 million (EUR244 million) for their catch. More blue crab was caught in Louisiana (40 million pounds) than in any other state, earning over USD 61 million (EUR 55 million). Louisiana also accounted for more than half of the menhaden landed in 2014, with fishermen landing 585 million pounds worth USD 63 million (EUR 57 million) in dockside revenue. Sea scallop garnered the highest average ex-vessel price per pound (USD 12.55, EUR 11.26) from among the key species and species group in 2014.

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