The United States has long exported a significant chunk of the world’s seafood, with their recent exports valued at several billions of dollars. You may be surprised to learn that most of the seafood caught in the U.S. comes from just a few states. To learn more about the United States’ fishing industry and the states that produce the most seafood, read our brief state-by-state guide.
Surprisingly, Alaska is the state that produces the most seafood in America. More than half of all American seafood by pounds comes in through Alaskan ports. Alaska was responsible for over 5.4 million pounds of caught product in 2018—over four million pounds more than the next highest state, Louisiana. Alaska has over six thousand miles of coastline—several thousand more than Florida—so this makes sense. Some common catches along Alaska’s Pacific coastline include salmon, crab, scallop, cod, and halibut, among others. Overall, Alaska’s fishing industry accounts for a significant portion of its economy and provides many jobs for Alaskans.
Meanwhile, Louisiana fished about one million pounds of seafood in 2018, which is good for a distant second in the nation. The source of these catches is the Gulf of Mexico. Fishers aim to take in crab, shrimp, oysters, alligator, and more Louisiana-specific species. These quality catches boost Louisiana’s tourism experience because many local restaurants benefit from the fresh seafood.
Maine and Massachusetts
The highest-value species commonly caught in the U.S. is American lobster, which accounts for a significant portion of the seafood trade. Maine dominates lobster fishing along the Atlantic, while Massachusetts boasts one of the most valuable lobster fishing ports, New Bedford. Maine brought in 121 million pounds of American lobster in 2018, which adds up to 491 million dollars in revenue. This illustrates the high per-pound value of American lobster.
These four states—along with other top seafood-producing states such as Washington and Virginia—take several important steps to safely ship seafood to other U.S. states, particularly those without major coastlines. This grants many Americans the privilege of enjoying quality seafood even if they’re hundreds of miles away from the sea.