Overall US seafood exports down slightly from last year

Published on
December 16, 2016

Updated numbers from the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) indicated that the United States is exporting slightly less seafood this year than in 2015, while imports have seen a small bump.

A dismal Alaska pink salmon season may have contributed to the decline in overall exports. NMFS figures said pink salmon exports plummeted from 102,010 metric tons (MT) from January to October 2015 to 34,065 MT in the first 10 months of 2016. The poor season prompted Alaskan lawmakers to seek federal disaster relief funding for fisherman who depend on pink salmon runs.

In the same 10-month period, sockeye exports held almost steady from 2015 to 2016, hovering around 39,000 MT, while Atlantic salmon exports nearly doubled to 10,342 MT. Exports of chinook salmon caught in the U.S. also shot up from just 572 MT to 3,775 MT this year. However, the U.S. saw salmon roe exports nearly halved from 13,097 MT in 2015 to 7,330 MT this year.

The top flatfish export, yellowfin sole, retained robust numbers with nearly 59,000 metric tons shipped internationally, up about 4,000 MT from last year. The country’s largest yellowfin sole fishery is in Alaska’s Bering Sea.

With some species shuffling, tuna exports enjoyed an overall bump in 2016. While skipjack and yellowfin exports saw a year-on-year decrease, albacore exports were up nearly 40 percent to 14,242 MT in 2016 with total tuna exports at 16,654 MT.

Meanwhile, U.S. consumers kept demand high for shrimp imports, led by warm-water peeled and warm-water shell on imports at 199,266 MT and 184,556 MT, respectively. Imported breaded shrimp was down about 600 MT from 2015, holding at 35,495 MT as of October of this year.

Overall, U.S. seafood exports dropped from 1.45 million MT from January to October 2015 to 1.39 million MT during the same period of 2016. Overall imports in the same 10-month period rose slightly from 2.1 million MT in 2015 to 2.16 million MT in the first 10 months of this year.

Contributing Editor reporting from Seattle, USA

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