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Dutch Harbor-Unalaska, Alaska And New Bedford, Massachusetts, Remain Top Fishing Ports

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WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Commercial fishermen unloaded 612.7 million pounds of fish and shellfish at the port of Dutch Harbor-Unalaska, Alaska, in 2008, mostly pollock, making it the country’s top port for the amount of fish landed for the 20th consecutive year, NOAA’s Fisheries Service announced today.

The port of New Bedford, Mass., claimed the top spot for value of landings for the ninth year in a row, primarily due to sea scallops, bringing in $241.3 million in 2008. The port’s total landings were down 3.6 million pounds and the value declined by $27.6 million from 2007 primarily due to a significant drop in scallop landings.

Nationwide, the total domestic commercial landings for 2008 were 8.3 billion pounds, valued at $4.4 billion. Although landings were down from last year’s 9.3 billion pounds, the value was up from last year’s total value of $4.2 billion. The main reason for the landings drop was the drop in pollock landing and the reason for the increase in value was that the price of Pollock rose significantly from 8 to 14 cents per pound.

Dutch Harbor-Unalaska ranked second in value of landings at $195 million which, despite the drop in overall quantity of landings, this year was valued $20.9 million more than 2007.

“The long-term success of the port of Dutch Harbor-Unalaska comes partly from the fact that many of the fish species landed there are managed under some of the nation’s most advanced catch share programs,” said Jim Balsiger, acting NOAA assistant administrator for NOAA’s Fisheries Service. “Catch-share programs increase fishermen’s safety by eliminating the race to fish. They ensure sustainable fishing, reduce overcapacity in the industry and improve profitability of fisheries for coastal communities.”

The ports of Reedville, Va. and Empire-Venice, La., ranked second and third for quantity of landings in 2008 primarily due to menhaden. Some 354.2 million pounds of fish were landed in Reedville and 353.2 million pounds were landed in Empire-Venice.

The new report on the nation’s ports is part of Fisheries of the United States 2008, a detailed statistical report on the nation’s commercial and recreational fishing, landings, import, export, per capita fish consumption and consumer expenditures for fish products. The report will be available online and can be read at

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