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Astoria drops behind Washington port in commercial fishery landings — still ahead of Newport

Westport ranked 10th in nation, Astoria 12th
By Katie Frankowicz

The Daily Astorian

Published on November 2, 2017 7:28AM

Last changed on November 2, 2017 10:14AM

Astoria was 12th last year with 94 million pounds of commercial fish landed.

AP Photo/Don Ryan

Astoria was 12th last year with 94 million pounds of commercial fish landed.

A port in Washington state beat Astoria at commercial fishery landings and the value of the catch last year.

Westport, Washington, came in 10th on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s annual report on fisheries. The report includes information about the quantity and value of commercial fishery landings, as well as what species were brought to shore.

Astoria trailed Westport at 12th place, with 94 million pounds landed in commercial fisheries last year.

In 2015, Astoria had been ahead of Westport with 92 million pounds, but the Washington state fishing city sailed ahead in 2016 with 108 million pounds landed. Still, Astoria stayed ahead of Newport. Landings at Astoria’s near neighbors, Ilwaco and Chinook, Washington, dropped slightly in 2016, but the value went up.

When it came to the value of commercial landings, Astoria was further down the list, contributing only $42 million as compared to Newport’s $48 million. New Bedford, Massachusetts, was at the top of the list with $327 million.

The Pacific Coast area that includes Washington, Oregon and California accounts for 10 percent of the United States’ total commercial landings and 13 percent of the value.

The report, released Tuesday, notes that total landings were down slightly from 2015, coming in at 9.6 billion pounds — of which Alaska contributed 5.6 billion pounds, topping the list for the 20th consecutive year — but value was up at $5.3 billion dollars. East Coast ports led the nation with 39 percent of the total value, closely followed by Alaska’s Dutch Harbor.

Average ex-vessel prices — the amount paid to fishermen — was up, at 55 cents per pound as compared to 2015’s 54 cents per pound.

The major domestic species landed included Alaska pollock at the top of the list in terms of pounds landed followed by menhaden, an oily forage fish in the Atlantic Ocean. Hake, salmon and crab all came in around the middle of the list.

Salmon, an important species economically and culturally in Oregon, had a rocky year. Commercial salmon landings in 2016, overall, were down significantly from 2015, at 561,036 pounds as compared to more than 1 million pounds the previous year. The average from 2011 to 2015 has been 854,242 pounds.

In 2015, salmon was ranked third in volume of landings and fourth in terms of value. In 2016, the species also dropped slightly in value.

In Oregon, fishermen landed 1.8 million pounds valued at almost $8.3 million, a decrease of pounds and value as compared to 2015.

Crabs retained their second-place rank, valued at $704,288, just under lobsters but ahead of scallops and shrimp. Albacore tuna, an important species for Oregon fishermen, remained about the same in landings and value as compared to 2015.

The report noted that though recreational fishing landings make up a much smaller percentage of the overall weight of finfish harvested in the U.S. in the regions the report covers, “the fishing activities of millions of anglers are important to monitor because marine recreational fishing significantly impacts the stocks of many finfish species, and recreational catches surpass commercial landings of some species.”

In the Pacific region, marine recreational fishermen took 3.8 million trips and caught nearly 13 million fish. The majority of the trips — 92 percent — occurred in California.


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