US seafood trade deficit dipped slightly in 2023

Seafood remains Alaska's top export, comprising over half of the state's yearly export value at $3.3 billion on average.

by | February 13, 2024

Filed Under Markets | Trade

Nearly 80% of seafood eaten by Americans comes from abroad

By Cliff White/SeafoodSource
February 12, 2024

The U.S. seafood trade deficit reached USD 20.3 billion (EUR 18.8 billion) in 2023, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

U.S. imports dipped sharply from USD 30 billion (EUR 27.8 billion) in 2022 to around USD 25.3 billion (EUR 23.5 billion) in 2023, while exports fell slightly from USD 5.1 billion (EUR 4.7 billion) in 2022 to approximately USD 5 billion (EUR 4.6 billion) in 2023, NOAA trade data showed.

The largest annual seafood trade deficit recorded by the United States over the last 28 years was USD 24.8 billion (EUR 23 billion) in 2021, followed by USD 24.6 billion (EUR 22.8 billion) in 2022.

In 2022, the top five suppliers of seafood to the U.S. were Canada, Chile, India, Indonesia, and Vietnam, which together accounted for 51 percent of U.S. total imports by value. Only the European Union – at USD 33.3 billion (EUR 30.9 billion) – imported more seafood than the U.S. in 2022. China imported USD 22.6 billion (EUR 21 billion), Japan imported USD 15.1 billion (EUR 14 billion), and South Korea ranked fifth globally with USD 6.6 billion (EUR 6.1 billion) in imports.

The United States ranked 10th in 2022 in seafood exports by value. China ranked first with USD 22.4 billion (EUR 20.8 billion) in exports, followed by Norway with USD 15.5 billion (EUR 14.4 billion), Ecuador at USD 9.2 billion (EUR 8.5 billion), Chile at USD 8.5 billion (EUR 7.9 billion), and India at USD 7.9 billion (EUR 7.3 billion). 

Since 1995, the value of U.S. seafood exports – when adjusted for inflation in 2022 dollars – has ranged from a low of USD 4.2 billion (EUR 3.9 billion) in 1998 to a high of USD 7.2 billion (EUR 6.9 billion) in 2011, according to NOAA. The top destinations for U.S. seafood include Canada, China, Japan, South Korea, and the Netherlands, which cumulatively accounted accounting for 68 percent of U.S. seafood exports in 2022.

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Seafood is Alaska’s top export by far

Seafood has been and remains Alaska’s top export, comprising over half of Alaska’s annual export value. The export value over the past decade has averaged $3.3 billion annually, according to the Alaska Resource Development Council.

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About Laine

Laine Welch has covered the Alaska fish beat for print and radio since 1988. She also has worked “behind the counter” at retail and wholesale seafood companies in Kodiak and on Cape Cod.

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