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NOAA image of “Fisheries of the United States - 2005.”Feb. 7, 2007 Americans ate 16.2 pounds of fish and shellfish per person in 2005, a two percent decrease from the 2004 consumption figure of 16.6 pounds. Despite the decline in consumption, consumer expenditures for seafood products increased by $3.3 billion, representing a five percent increase for a total of $65.2 billion. The commercial marine fishing industry contributed $32.9 billion to the U.S. Gross National Product in 2005, up from $31.6 billion in 2004. (Click NOAA image for larger view of “Fisheries of the United States — 2005.” Please credit “NOAA.”)

In 2005, Americans spent $44.5 billion in seafood restaurants, a $1.7 billion increase over 2004. Americans purchased $20.5 billion worth of seafood for home consumption, an increase of $1.6 billion over 2004.

NOAA released the statistics in the 2005 edition of its annual publication, “Fisheries of the United States.”

Despite the slight decrease in 2005, overall seafood consumption in the United States has trended upwards in the past five years: In 2001, the consumption rate was 14.8 pounds, in 2002 it was 15.6 pounds and in 2003 it was 16.3 pounds.

Americans consumed a total of 4.8 billion pounds of seafood in 2005. The nation still imports roughly 80 percent of its seafood, and remains the third largest global consumer of fish and shellfish, behind Japan and China.

“The seafood industry continues to be big business in the United States,” said Bill Hogarth, director of the NOAA Fisheries Service. “Seafood remains a favorite food choice among Americans due to its high value for nutrition and health.”

Of the total 16.2 pounds consumed per person, 11.6 pounds were fresh and frozen finfish and shellfish, down 0.2 pounds from last year. Canned seafood consumption dropped 0.2 pounds to 4.3 pounds per capita. A record figure was consumption of fillets and steaks, up 0.4 pounds to 5.0 pounds per person. Canned tuna consumption fell 0.2 pounds to 3.1 pounds per person.

Shrimp continues to be the top consumed seafood in the United States at 4.1 pounds of shrimp consumed in 2005, down 0.1 pounds from 2004. In 2005, shrimp exports increased by 27 million pounds, for a 10-year record high of shrimp exports at 95.5 million pounds, while shrimp imports decreased by 53 million pounds. Both statistics are calculated based on a heads-off basis.

The NOAA Fisheries Service’s calculation of per capita consumption is based on a “disappearance” model. The total U.S. supply is calculated as the sum of imports and landings minus exports, converted to edible weight. This total is divided by the total U.S. population to estimate per capita consumption.

The NOAA Fisheries Service has been calculating the nation’s seafood consumption rates since 1910 to keep consumers and the industry informed. This information is published every year in the NOAA Fisheries Service annual report, “Fisheries of the United States.”

U.S. Annual Per Capita Consumption Seafood and Shellfish
Pounds of Edible Meat:
Year Fresh and frozen Canned Cured Total
2001 10.3 4.2 0.3 14.8
2002 11.0 4.3 0.3 15.6
2003 11.4 4.6 0.3 16.3
2004 11.8 4.5 0.3 16.6
2005 11.6 4.3 0.3 16.2

U.S. Annual Per Capita Consumption of Canned Fishery Products, Pounds
Year Salmon Sardines Tuna Shellfish Other Total
2001 0.4 0.2 2.9 0.3 0.4 4.2
2002 0.5 0.1 3.1 0.3 0.3 4.3
2003 0.4 0.1 3.4 0.4 0.3 3.6
2004 0.3 0.1 3.3 0.4 0.4 4.5
2005 0.4 0.1 3.1 0.4 0.3 4.3

U.S. Annual Per capita Consumption of Certain Fishery items, Pounds
Year Fillets and Steaks Sticks and Portions Shrimp
2001 3.7 0.8 3.4
2002 4.1 0.8 3.7
2003 4.3 0.7 4.0
2004 4.6 0.7 4.2
2005 5.0 0.9 4.1

NOAA, an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department, is celebrating 200 years of science and service to the nation. From the establishment of the Survey of the Coast in 1807 by Thomas Jefferson to the formation of the Weather Bureau and the Commission of Fish and Fisheries in the 1870s, much of America's scientific heritage is rooted in NOAA. NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and information service delivery for transportation, and by providing environmental stewardship of the nation's coastal and marine resources. Through the emerging Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), NOAA is working with its federal partners, more than 60 countries and the European Commission to develop a global monitoring network that is as integrated as the planet it observes, predicts and protects.

Relevant Web Sites
Fisheries of the United States — 2005

NOAA Fisheries Service

NOAA Fisheries Service Statistics

Media Contact:
Susan Buchanan, NOAA Fisheries Service, (301) 713-2370