US per capita seafood consumption drops 4%


April Forristall, assistant editor

Published on
October 30, 2013

U.S. per capita seafood consumption dropped 4 percent in 2012, according to figures released Wednesday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).


According to the “Fisheries of the United States 2012” report, the average American ate 14.4 pounds of seafood in 2012, a 4 percent drop from the 2011 figure of 15.0 pounds.

Altogether, Americans consumed 4.5 billion pounds of seafood.

Commercial fishermen landed 9.6 billion pounds of fish and shellfish in 2012, valued at USD 5.1 billion (EUR 3.7 billion), according to NOAA.

Both the landings and value of fish and shellfish caught remain higher than the 10-year average of 9.2 billion pounds and USD 4.1 billion (EUR 3 billion), although it is a small decrease from the high level sin 2011.

“Healthy, sustainable fish and shellfish stocks are incredibly important to our nation's social and economic fabric,” said Sam Rauch, acting NOAA assistant administrator for NOAA Fisheries. “The high landings and value of seafood in 2012 support the three-decade long effort that has gone into ending overfishing in the U.S. Thanks to our partners, the regional fishery management councils and especially U.S. fishermen, we now have some of the most responsibly managed, sustainable fisheries in the world.”

Aquaculture contributed only 5 percent of production, with Washington and Maine leading the nation in fish farming, primarily Atlantic salmon. Washington, Virginia and Louisiana lead in shellfish farming, primarily oysters.

The report also shows that the Alaska port of Dutch Harbor led the nation with the highest amount of fish landed — primarily walleye 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 highly valued sea scallop fishery. Sea scallops accounted for more than 80 percent of the value of New Bedford landings.

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