The U.S. seafood catch reached a 17-year high last year, with all fishing regions of the country showing increases in both the volume and value of their harvests.
Commercial fishermen last year caught 10.1 billion pounds of fish and shellfish valued at a record $5.3 billion, according to a report released Wednesday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. That’s a 23 percent increase in catch by weight and a 17 percent increase in value over 2010.
New Bedford, Mass., was the highest-valued port for the 12th straight year, due largely to its scallop fishery. Dutch Harbor, Alaska, was the No. 1 port for seafood volume for the 15th year in a row.
The increases are evidence that fish populations are rebuilding, said Sam Rauch, deputy assistant administrator for NOAA’s Fisheries Service.
Still, a number of fisheries are in trouble. The Department of Commerce has declared disasters for cod and other so-called groundfish in New England, oyster and blue crab fisheries in Mississippi, and chinook salmon in Alaska’s Yukon and Kuskokwin rivers.