U.S. fisheries floating on 17-year high

Freshly caught crab is seen in a bin after being unloaded from a boat in San Francisco, Calif.

The U.S. seafood catch hit a 17-year high last year. All regions of the country are showing increases. That's according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which has just come out with its annual report.

"Overall, we have been working very hard for the last decade," says Sam Rock of the NOAA, "and the fisherman have been making a great number of sacrifices to rebuild the fish stocks across the country." Those sacrifices are starting to paying off.

The report finds that in 2011, commercial fishermen caught 10.1 billion pounds of fish and shellfish. That catch is valued at a record $5.3 billion, a 17 percent increase in value over 2010.

The report seems to be conflicting with ongoing tales we hear of depleting stocks of fish, but it is important to note that we're only talking about certain stocks of fish. There are two types in particular that are driving the numbers: the Alaska Pollock, used in fish sticks, and the Pacific Whiting, mostly used in fake crab meat.

There are still many fisheries in trouble. The Department of Commerce has declared disasters for cod and other so-called groundfish in New England, oyster and blue crab fisheries in Mississippi, and Chinook salmon in Alaska.

About the author

Queena Kim covers technology for Marketplace. She lives in the Bay Area.

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