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Alaska leads nation in seafood catch with 5.4 billion pounds last year

Craig MedredAlaska Dispatch

Dutch Harbor in Alaska's Aleutian Island chain is tops in U.S. seafood catch -- for the 15th year in a row. That's according to an Associated Press story (via the Washington Post) that notes American seafood catch reached a 17-year high last year.

And Alaska led all other states in volume of fish caught, notes the story:

Alaska led all states by far in catch volume, with 5.4 billion pounds, followed by Louisiana, California, Virginia and Washington, according to the report. Alaska was also tops in the value of its catch, at $1.9 billion, followed by Massachusetts, Maine, Louisiana and Washington.

Fishermen brought 706 million pounds of product to Dutch Harbor, the leading port by volume, while New Bedford, the top port by value, had $369 million worth of seafood cross its docks.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) concludes that the high point in seafood volume correlates to a rebound in American fish populations. But there are a few exceptions, where fish populations may be crashing, including in Alaska. The Department of Commerce has declared federal disasters for several U.S. fisheries -- cod and other groundfish in New England, chinook salmon in Alaska's Yukon and Kuskokwim rivers and the Mississippi River delta's oyster and blue crab fisheries.

Read more here.