Salmon leapfrogs lobster in value in U.S.

BAR HARBOR — While lobster remains king in Maine, it has been dethroned as the highest valued catch in the U.S.

The National Marine Fisheries Service released its annual Fisheries of the United States report earlier this month for 2019 and lobster dropped to the number two spot, losing its crown to salmon. 

In 2019, salmon raked in $707 million while lobster landings came in at $668 million. In the 2018 report that was released last year, salmon was ranked No. 3, with $598 million; lobster was No. 1 with $684 million. 

Across all species, commercial fishermen in the U.S. landed 9.3 billion pounds for a value of $5.5 billion in 2019, a decrease of 76.7 million pounds (down 0.8 percent) and a decrease of $113 million (down 2 percent) compared to 2018.

The Atlantic region made up 13 percent of the landings and 39 percent of the value of the total 2019 haul.

For the 23rd year in a row, Dutch Harbor, Alaska, remained the top port for volume of landings while New Bedford, Mass., for the 19th year in a row, was the highest value port.

Maine did lead the country for the 38th consecutive year in American lobster landings, with 100.8 million pounds valued at $485.9 million — a decrease of 19.3 million pounds compared to 2018. 

Massachusetts was the second highest leading producer, with 19.3 million pounds. Together, Maine and Massachusetts produced 93 percent of the total national lobster landings. The average ex-vessel price per pound was $5 in 2019, up from $4.27 in 2018. 

According to preliminary state data, Maine lobstermen landed 96.6 million pounds of lobster in 2020 for a value of $405.9 million.

For all species, Maine had the third highest valued landings in the country with $577.9 million in 2019, according to the federal report. Massachusetts had $679 million and Alaska had $1.8 billion.

Ethan Genter

Ethan Genter

Former reporter for the Ellsworth American and Mount Desert Islander, Ethan covered maritime news and the town of Bar Harbor.
Ethan Genter

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