U.S. salmon imports up 2.6% in 2011

After falling 3.2 percent from 2009 to 2010, U.S. salmon imports rebounded last year, increasing 2.6 percent to 533 million pounds, according to new figures from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Thanks to the resurgence of Chile — which has battled back from the infectious salmon anemia outbreak that stymied production in 2007 and 2008 — U.S. imports of fresh Atlantic salmon fillets reached 146 million pound in 2011, up 19.7 percent from 2010. Imports of fresh Atlantic salmon fillets from Chile nearly doubled to 93.4 million pounds.

Also contributing to the increase was the Faroe Islands, which exported 13.8 million pounds of fresh Atlantic salmon fillets to the U.S. market last year after shipping less than 1 million pounds the previous year.

As for fresh whole Atlantic salmon, Canada led the way at 145.8 million pounds, followed by the United Kingdom at 23.1 million pounds. Overall, U.S. imports of fresh whole Atlantic salmon were down 5.5 percent to 193.7 million pounds.

As for frozen Atlantic salmon fillets, Chile more than doubled its exports to the U.S. market to 22.2 million pounds. But, overall, U.S. imports of frozen Atlantic salmon fillets were down 2.2 percent from 2010.

Fresh and frozen Atlantic salmon fillets and fresh whole Atlantic salmon represent roughly three-quarters of total U.S. salmon imports.

In terms of per-capita seafood consumption, salmon is the United States’ third most popular seafood item, trailing only shrimp and canned tuna.


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