PUBLISHED: 11:12 AM on Wednesday, July 18, 2007
Sitka shows increase in seafood landings
Eat more fish, America!
Dutch Harbor/Unalaska broke its own record for seafood landings last year, and held onto its ranking as the nation's No. 1 port for the 18th year in a row.

According to the National Marine Fisheries Service annual report on U.S. fisheries, 911.3 million pounds crossed the Dutch Harbor docks in 2006, an increase of nearly 24 million pounds from the previous year. Ports in Louisiana and Virginia ranked No. 2 and No. 3 for seafood deliveries.

Kodiak held onto fourth place for fish landings at 332.8 million pounds, down just slightly from 2005. Other Alaska ports making the top 50 list were Naknek/King Salmon at #12 with 105.7 million pounds, a slight increase from the previous year.

Many others reflected significant delivery decreases. Petersburg ranked No. 1717 at 58.2 million pounds, down from 95 million pounds in 2005. Deliveries to Ketchikan (No. 18) dropped by more than half to 50.3 million pounds. Sitka, ranked at No. 19, had an increase in landings to nearly 47 million pounds, up from 38 million.

Cordova (No. 20) took the biggest hit with landings of 45.8 million pounds, a whopping decrease of 65.4 million pounds from the previous year. Deliveries to Seward (No. 25) also tanked at 36.8 million pounds, a drop of nearly 24 million pounds. Juneau (No. 39) landings increased from 18.5 million pounds to 19 million. Seafood deliveries of 15.6 million pounds to Homer (No. 44) reflected a decrease of more than two million pounds. Likewise, landings to Kenai (No. 49) of 11.7 million pounds last year showed a drop of 4.2 million pounds.

In terms of seafood values, New Bedford, Massachusetts held onto the lead at $281 million. (The all time record of $282.5 million was set at that same port last year.) Dutch Harbor placed second with seafood value topping $162 million at the docks, a drop of $1 million from 2005. Kodiak jumped up one spot to No. 3 with fish values coming in at $101.4 million, an increase of $5.6 million.

Total commercial landings (edible and industrial) by U.S. fishermen dropped two percent to 9.5 billion pounds in 2006, but the dockside value increased one percent ($51 million) to $4 billion. Finfish accounted for 88 percent of the total landings, but only 48 percent of the value. The average price paid to fishermen was 42 cents compared to 41 cents in 2005.

Americans spent an estimated $69.5 billion for fishery products in 2006, including $46.6 billion at restaurants and $22.7 billion in retail sales for home consumption.

By producing and marketing a variety of fishery products for domestic and foreign buyers, the commercial fishing industry last year contributed $35.1 billion to the U.S. Gross National Product. Find the full report at

Eat more fish, America!

Each American ate 16.5 pounds of seafood last year, up from 16.2 pounds in 2005. That reflects an 11 percent increase in per capita consumption from six years ago, according to the National Fisheries Institute. The seafood consumption record of 16.6 pounds per person was set back in 1987 and matched in 2004.

Market analyst Ken Talley said the only reason per capita consumption didn't set a new record in 2006 stemmed from a huge drop in the popularity of canned seafood. Canned tuna consumption dropped below three pounds per person, while canned salmon fell to just two tenths of a pound, a 50 percent drop in one year.

The list of America's top 10 seafood favorites remained pretty much the same - shrimp held onto the number one spot at 4.4 pounds per person. Canned tuna was second, followed by salmon at just over two pounds per person. Then came pollock and tilapia, which ousted catfish from the number five spot. Crab, cod, clams and scallops rounded out the top 10 favorites.

Welch, who lives in Kodiak, has written about Alaska's seafood industrysince 1988.