Americans Consumed 4.5 Billion Pounds of Seafood in 2012

Written by on November 4, 2013 in Fish, Policy & Ocean Law


Fishing boat.

Fishing boat. Photo credit: NOAA.

Fisheries of the United States 2012, the annual report released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), found that the value and pounds of fish and shellfish caught last year remained higher than the average for the past decade.

Data for the annual report is collected from a number of sources, including logbooks, surveys and catch cards. It provides scientists and resource managers with the most up to date information on the health and productivity of local fish stocks that helps them make more informed decisions.

Report Highlights:

  • U.S. commercial fishermen landed 9.6 billion pounds of fish and shellfish, valued at $5.1 billion.
  • Nearly 9.4 million recreational saltwater anglers went on more than 70 million marine fishing trips, catching more than 380 million fish and releasing 63 percent alive.
  • The top catches for recreational anglers include spotted seatrout, Atlantic croaker, black sea bass, summer flounder and red drum.
  • Marine finfish farming is led by Washington and Maine. The most commonly farmed fish is Atlantic salmon.
  • Shellfish farming is led by Washington, Virginia and Louisiana. Oysters are the most commonly farmed shellfish.
  • For the 16th consecutive year, the Alaska port of Dutch Harbor had the highest amount of fish landed.
  • For the 13th consecutive year, New Bedford, MA had the highest valued catch. Sea scallops accounted for more than 80 percent of the value of landings there.
  • Americans consumed 4.5 billion pounds of seafood. The average American ate 14.4 pounds of fish and shellfish, representing a four percent drop from 2011.
Dutch Harbor, Alaska.

Dutch Harbor, Alaska. Photo credit: NOAA.

To learn more:

Sorting through Atlantic sea scallops.

Sorting through Atlantic sea scallops. Photo credit: NEFSC/NOAA.

Copyright © 2013 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.

About the Author

About the Author: Emily Tripp is the Publisher and Editor of She holds marine science and biology degrees from the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and a Master of Advanced Studies degree in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. When she's not writing about marine science, she's probably running around outside or playing with her dog. .


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