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Americans Are Eating More Fish, But Dutch Harbor Remains Nation’s Top Port

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Sarah Hansen/KUCB
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On dinner tables across the country, Americans are eating more fish. The United States is responsible for more fish consumption than all other countries, except for China.

An annual National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration report shows Americans added almost one pound of fish to their diets in 2015.

For the 19th consecutive year, the Port of Dutch Harbor is America’s largest fishing port hauling in 787 million pounds of seafood. That’s the most seafood ever brought into one port — and more than 250 million pounds above than the next port: Kodiak.

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Credit Courtesy NOAA Fisheries
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The $218 million haul is mostly thanks to the large volume of pollock from the Bering Sea, as well as crab and other groundfish.

Frank Kelty was the fisheries analyst for the City of Unalaska, and he says fishing is the community’s main economic engine.

“We have no other main industry,” said Kelty. “Everything feeds off how the fisheries do, and it works its way down through all sectors of the community.”

Although it’s more money than last year, Dutch Harbor’s haul is still behind the nation’s most profitable port: New Bedford, Massachusetts.

As a state, Alaska led the country in volume and value of fish landings — bringing in three times the money and more than five times the amount of seafood as the next largest state.

Zoë Sobel reported for KUCB from 2016 until 2019. She returned to KUCB after a year living in Nepal and Malaysia as a Luce Scholar. She then returned to KUCB as a ProPublica reporter August of 2020 through August of 2021.
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