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NOAA Fisheries Posts Statistical Report Card for U.S. Fisheries in 2011

Dutch Harbor, the top port with the highest volume of catch this year.

What’s behind some of the increases in landings?

Alaskan Pollock.

The Alaska pollock fishery is one the largest, most valuable fisheries in the world and widely considered to be among the best managed. Every year, managers adjust the amount fishermen can catch according to pollock population levels and other factors, such as the overall limit on groundfish catch for the eastern Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands regions. Scientists found the population had grown above target levels, allowing managers to raise the amount of pollock fishermen could catch in 2011. As a result, the commercial catch increased by 864 million pounds this past year.

Gulf of Mexico Menhaden.

Also in 2010, fishing throughout the Gulf of Mexico was curtailed due to the devastating Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The report indicates both recreational and commercial catches rebounded in 2011. With the benefit of a full fishing season, commercial landings for Gulf menhaden were up 350 million pounds this past year.



Sept 19, 2012

Each year NOAA Fisheries compiles key fisheries statistics from the previous year into an annual snapshot documenting fishing’s importance to the nation. The 2011 report provides landings totals for both domestic recreational and commercial fisheries by species and allows us to track important indicators such as annual seafood consumption and the productivity of top fishing ports.


Report Highlights

  • U.S. commercial fishermen landed over 10 billion pounds of seafood valued at more than $5 billion.

  • The 2011 totals represent the highest overall commercial landings totals since 1994.

  • Dutch Harbor-Unalaska, Alaska and New Bedford, Massachusetts remain the top commercial fishing ports.

  • Approximately 10 million saltwater recreational anglers took 69 million trips and caught 345 million fish, nearly 60 percent of which were released.

Sustainable Seafood

Americans consumed 4.7 billion pounds of seafood in 2011. The U.S. has surpassed Japan and is now second only to China in seafood consumption. In 2011, about 91 percent of seafood consumed in the U.S. was imported, up 5 percent from 2010. However, a portion of this imported seafood is caught by American fishermen, exported overseas for processing and then re-imported to the U.S. The top three imports are shrimp, canned tuna, and tilapia fillets.

Well-Managed U.S. Fisheries

U.S. fisheries are among the most responsibly managed fisheries in the world. The United States’ implementation of annual catch limits in all its fisheries locks into place a robust, science-based management process that prevents, monitors, and responds to overfishing. U.S. fishermen and businesses have played a critical role in this monumental achievement and the stewardship practices that have come to define U.S. fisheries.

Top U.S. Commercial Fishing Ports

For the 15th consecutive year, Dutch Harbor-Unalaska, Alaska, led the nation as the port with the highest volume of seafood landed. For the 12th year in a row, New Bedford, Massachusetts, had the highest-valued catch, due in large part to the sea scallop fishery. New Bedford fishermen saw a 24 percent increase in ex-vessel price for scallops.

Visit for Fresh Facts about Smart Seafood

When consumers go to the market for seafood, they can be assured that if the species is harvested in the United States, it has been harvested responsibly. NOAA Fisheries' provides the public with easy-to-understand, science-based facts to help them make smart sustainable seafood choices. 

FishWatch is not a buyer’s guide designed to discriminate against one fishery or advocate for another, nor is it an ecolabel or certification. Rather, FishWatch delivers regularly updated information on how U.S. seafood is harvested under regulations that keep the environment healthy, fish populations thriving, and our seafood industry on the job.

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