Dutch Harbor remains nation’s top fishing port for volume

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

While Dutch Harbor has been named the nation’s top fishing port in terms of volume for the 22nd consecutive year, 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. 

Julie Speegle, a public affairs officer with NOAA Fisheries Alaska Region, said Dutch Harbor slipped to the third spot because of 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. 

NOAA’s Fisheries of the United States 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. fishermen landed 9.4 billion pounds of seafood valued at $5.6 billion in 2018. 58 percent was caught in Alaska. 

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