Cordova ranks in top 30 commercial fish ports

NOAA report shows 35 million pounds of seafood worth $38 M landed in at Cordova’s port in 2016

Fishing tenders lined up in a row at anchor on June 25. Photo by Cinthia Gibbens-Stimson/The Cordova Times

A new federal fisheries report on the economic impact of America’s fisheries ranks Cordova 28th in the nation in 2016 on commercial fisheries landings.

The annual Fisheries of the United States report notes that in 2016, the latest year for which all statistical data is available, that 35 million pounds of seafood valued at $38 million was landed at the port of Cordova.

Dutch Harbor remained the nation’s leading fisheries port for volume, with 770 million pounds of seafood valued at $198 landed, and New Bedford, Mass., retained its title as the nation’s leading port for value, with 106.6 pounds of seafood valued at $326.5 million.

Other top Alaska fisheries ports, by rank and including deliveries and value, were Naknek, 170 million pounds, $108 million, third; Kodiak, 417 million pounds, $107 million, fourth; Aleutian Islands, 508 million pounds, $105 million, seventh; Alaska Peninsula, 243 million pounds, $85 million, eighth; Bristol Bay, 54 million pounds, $76 million, 10th; Sitka, 56 million pounds, $55 million, 16th; Seward, 27 million pounds, $42 million, 25th; Petersburg, 41 million pounds, $37 million, 29th; Ketchikan, 65 million pounds, $36 million, 31st; Kenai, 22 million pounds, $25 million, 43rd; Juneau, 16 million pounds, $23 million, 47th; Homer, 7 million pounds, $20  million, 59th, and Yakutat, 5 million pounds, $13 million, 76th.

Nationwide in 2016 commercial fishermen landed 9.6 billion pounds of seafood, down 1.5 percent from 2015, but valued at $5.3 billion, up 2.1 percent from a year earlier.

The highest valued commercial species were lobster, $723 million; crab, $704 million; scallops, $488 million; shrimp, $483 million; salmon, $420 million, and Alaska walleye Pollock, $417 million. Alaska Pollock, by volume is still the nation’s largest commercial fishery, with near record landings in 2016 of 3.4 billion pounds, up 3 percent from 2015.

Seventy-five percent of the entire domestic commercial catch went into fresh and frozen products for human consumption, 19 percent into fish meal and oil predominantly added to animal feed, and 3 percent for fresh and frozen animal food.  Another 2 percent went to canned human food, and the remaining 2 percent into cured human food and canned animal food products.

NOAA’s report also showed seafood imports in 2016 valued at $19.5 billion. Those imports were up by 1 percent, with the value up by 3.5 percent, the report said. A significant amount of that imported seafood, including shrimp and salmon, was actually caught by American fishermen, exported for processing and reimported into the United States.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross is quoted in the report saying that “with the United States importing billions of pounds of seafood annually, and with so much of that seafood foreign farm-raised, the numbers in this report underscore the untapped potential of aquaculture here at home.” Ross said expanding domestic aquaculture capacity presents an opportunity to reduce America’s reliance on imports while creating thousands of new jobs.”

The report showed that the average American consumed 14.9 pounds of fish and shellfish in 2016, down from 15.5 pounds a year earlier.  U.S. dietary guidelines recommend weekly consumption of 8-12 ounces of seafood, or 26 to 29 pounds per person annually.

NOAA notes that the report overall provides landings totals for both domestic recreational and commercial fisheries by species, allowing the agency to track important indicators such as annual seafood consumption and productivity of top fishing ports. While these statistics provide valuable insights, to fully understand the overall condition of domestic fisheries, they must be looked at in combination with other biological, social and economic factors of ecosystem and ocean health, NOAA officials said.

Read the complete report online at https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/feature-story/fisheries-united-states-2016