GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

Fishing Industry Stories

October 31, 2013

Fisheries report spotlights revenue losses

The results of NOAA’s Fisheries of the United States report released Wednesday show what Gloucester fishermen have been saying repeatedly for the past two years: They now have to work much harder to make less money than ever before.

The report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which serves as an annual appraisal of American fisheries, shows a national decline in the volume and value of seafood landed by U.S. commercial fishermen in 2012 when compared to the previous year.

The findings show U.S. landings — the quantity of seafood brought ashore and sold — at 9.6 billion pounds in 2012, down 2.3 percent from 2011. The report said those landings generated $5.1 billion in revenues, representing a 3.2 percent decline from 2011.

The news was mixed in Gloucester, where the port had a 7.8 percent gain in the total volume of its seafood landings in 2012 but suffered a 6.6 percent decline in the revenues generated by its landed catch when compared to the 2011 fishing year. Each commercial fishing year runs from May 1 to the following April 30.

According to NOAA’s findings, Gloucester landed 83 million pounds of seafood in 2012, compared to 77 million pounds the previous year. Conversely, the monetary value of Gloucester’s 2012 landings fell to $57 million from $61 million in 2011.

Jackie Odell, executive director of the Gloucester-based Northeast Seafood Coalition, did not comment on the specifics or methodology of the NOAA report, except to say in a statement that it “is further evidence of the unequivocable impact that the U.S. fisheries have on the national and global economies.”

Gloucester No. 16

The report ranked Gloucester 16th among all U.S. commercial ports for the quantity of its catch — a jump of four spots from 2011 that was aided, at least in part, by massive declines in landings at several Alaskan and West Coast ports.

Landings at Ketchikan, Alaska, for instance, fell to 74 million pounds from 100 million in 2011, with similar declines at Sitka, Alaska (67 million pounds from 113 million in 2011), Petersburg, Alaska (52 million pounds from 101 million in 2011) and Port Hueneme-Oxnard-Ventura, Calif. (69 million pounds from 128 million in 2011).

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