It appears Americans have been eating more seafood than previously reported by the US government.
US per capita seafood consumption in 2019 hit 19.2 pounds per person, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) "Fisheries of the United States 2019 report," released on Thursday.
This total is an increase of 0.2 pounds from the 19 pounds consumed in 2018, due to a small increase in the consumption of canned seafood.
More importantly, though, is that NOAA has recalculated annual per capita consumption going back to 1990. The numbers presented in this year's report will not be comparable to previous editions of Fisheries of the United States, NOAA said.
"In 2019 the NMFS Office of Science and Technology undertook a thorough examination of the calculation used to estimate per capita consumption," according to the report.
The goal of this review was to update the calculation based on newer available sources of data and make any needed corrections and updates.
"An initial review suggested that the treatment of Alaska pollock and products processed from Alaska pollock should be the focus, based on the very large contribution of Alaska pollock to US domestic landings.
"In addition, processing efficiency of pollock has greatly increased since the 1990s, suggesting that the related factors used to convert from processed Alaska pollock products to Alaska pollock catch should be examined. The detailed results of this evaluation are presented in this National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) Technical Memorandum."
An updated per capita consumption table included in the report now shows that annual consumption crossed into the 17.5 pound person range in 1999, and largely hovered between 17 pounds and 18.5 pounds until 2017 when it hit 19.1 pounds.
Based on the previous way the government calculated, per capita consumption had hovered between 15 pounds and 16 pounds for much of the past three decades.
For 2019, per capita consumption of fresh and frozen products was 15 pounds, with fresh and frozen finfish accounting for 9 pounds, while fresh and frozen shellfish consumption was 6 pounds per capita.
Consumption of all canned fishery products was 3.9 pounds per capita in 2019, up 0.2 pounds from 2018. Cured fish estimated to be 0.3 pounds per capita, the same as in previous years.
US commercial fishermen landed 9.3 billion pounds of fish and shellfish in 2019 valued at $5.5 billion (€4.1 billion). These figures are essentially unchanged from 2018, with a less than 1 percent decline in volume and 2 percent in value.
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