Dutch Harbor remains nation’s top fishing port for volume

Dutch Harbor and New Bedford, Massachusetts, continue to dominate the list of top fishing ports in the nation, in terms of volume and value. (Photo by Hope McKenney/KUCB)

Dutch Harbor has been named the nation’s top fishing port in terms of volume for the 22nd consecutive year. But the port dropped from second to third place in terms of value.

According to an annual National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration report released last month, the Port of Dutch Harbor led the nation with 763 million pounds of seafood landed in 2018, worth $182 million. But the value of landings in Naknek, Alaska, rose to $195 million.

(Graphic by NOAA Fisheries)

Julie Speegle, a public affairs officer with NOAA Fisheries’ Alaska regional office, said Dutch Harbor slipped to the third spot not because of a decline in value of landings, but an increase in the value of landings in Naknek.

“The key is primarily the different species composition at the port,” said Speegle. “For instance, landings at Naknek are primarily sockeye salmon, and at Dutch Harbor, it’s primarily pollock and crab.”

In fact, Speegle said Dutch Harbor’s value for fish landings went up by $9 million between 2017 and 2018. But it went up by $41 million in Naknek.

Although the port’s value ranking went down, she said Dutch Harbor and New Bedford, Massachusetts, continue to dominate the list of top ports in the nation.

“The fact that Dutch Harbor has held that rank for 22 consecutive years is a testament to the health and stability of the fishing industry in Dutch Harbor,” said Speegle.

The NOAA Fisheries report compiles key fisheries statistics from the previous year into an annual snapshot that’s provided to Congress, documenting fishing’s importance to the nation.

U.S. fishers landed 9.4 billion pounds of seafood, valued at $5.6 billion, in 2018. Alaska took in 58% of the nation’s landings.

 

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