Dutch Harbor is top US port for 26th year

Overall, 61.5% of all seafood landed in the US in 2022 came from Alaska!

by | April 27, 2024

Nearly all ports lost volume/value for 2022

What used to be one the most anticipated fisheries reports came out this month with little fanfare or notice.

The Fisheries Economics of the United States 2022 report by NOAA and the Dept. of Commerce highlights the roles that both commercial and recreational fisheries play in the nation’s economy. It includes values by region and species, imports and much more.

Dutch Harbor held on to the top spot for fishery landings in 2022 for the 26th consecutive year with 613.5m pounds valued at $160 million. That compares to 745 million pounds crossing the docks valued at $249 million the previous year.

Atlantic scallops again put New Bedford, Massachusetts as the leader for the highest value of seafood landed in 2022 – 31.6 million pounds of shucked meats valued at $478 million. This was a significant decrease over 2021 landings of 43 million pounds of scallops valued at $670 million. 

Those numbers reflect that both US fishery landings and values dropped nearly across the board in 2022.

A total of 8.3 billion pounds crossed the US docks, down just 3% from the previous year. The value of the catch rang in at $5.9 billion, a 16% decrease.

Landings of Alaska pollock, lobster, Pacific salmon and sea scallops all declined in 2022. Conversely, menhaden, sablefish and tunas all had volume increases. 

The average landings price, which had increased substantially in 2021 (26%) buoyed by inflationary pressure and stronger recovery in the wider economy, reverted back to roughly the average price level seen in the years leading
up to the pandemic.

The primary species contributing to the decline in aggregate landings price in 2022 were Alaska pollock, Gulf shrimp, American lobster, and sea scallops. Pacific cod and Pacific salmon prices increased

The Commerce Department primarily blamed the drop in falling prices on “increased costs throughout the supply chain putting downward pressure on landings prices.”

The economics report says trucking and ocean containerized freight rates peaked in 2022, which affects seafood products since they are highly transported commodities. “High inventories and difficulty in acquiring cold storage increased associated supply chain costs, potentially mitigating demand for some products. In addition, the seafood processing producer price index
peaked in 2022. These increased costs throughout the supply chain can put upward pressure on consumer prices and downward pressure on landings prices.”

Retail seafood sales prices grew just 1% in 2022 dollars, and sales volumes were down 6% between 2021 and 2022.

In terms of economic impacts, the commercial fishing/seafood industry supported 1.6 million jobs across the US and generated $183.4 billion in sales, a decrease of 11% in inflation-adjusted dollars from 2021.

Alaska tops all states for fishery volumes

The region with the highest volume and revenue was the North Pacific with 4.8 billion pounds landed and $2.1 billion in revenue.

In 2022, Alaska’s commercial fishing and seafood industry supported 74,424 full- and part-time jobs and generated $5.1 billion in sales, $2.3 billion in income, and $2.8 billion in value-added impacts

Second after Dutch Harbor for fishery volumes was the Aleutian Islands, home to North America’s largest seafood production facility at Akutan owned by Trident Seafoods. That port rang it at 498.4 million pounds valued at  $163.3 million, down just slightly from the previous year on both fronts.

Kodiak dropped from 5th to 6th place for landings, topped by two ports in Louisiana and one in Virginia. In 2022, 285.4 million pounds crossed the Kodiak docks valued at $139 million.

Port of Dutch Harbor/Unalaska

Naknek ranked at number 7 for fish landings at 234.5 million pounds valued at $298.5 million (up from $245.2 million in 2021).

The Alaska Peninsula was number 11 with 91.7 million pounds valued at $91 million.

Sitka had just over 69 million pounds of seafood cross its docks in 2022, valued at  $77.5 million.

Cordova came in at number 14 with 65.3 million pounds, valued at $76.4 million.

Ketchikan ranked at number 15 with 54.1 million pounds, worth $46.2 million at the docks.

Bristol Bay had 40.3 million pounds of seafood landed valued at $54.7 million.

Petersburg  came in at number 19 with 36.6 million pounds delivered in 2022, worth  $36.7 million to fishermen.

In all, 61.5% of all seafood landed in the U.S. in 2022 came from Alaska with the Gulf of Mexico a distant second at just 13%.

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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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