NOAA 2000-047
Contact: Kate Naughten


For the tenth consecutive year, the value and volume of the fish and shellfish imported by the U.S. in 1999 set records, according to an annual report released today by NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service. Overall, the value of imports increased 10 percent to a record $9 billion, and the volume of imports increased 7 percent to 3.9 billion pounds.

The report, which is based on Bureau of Census data, also showed that the value of U.S. seafood exports rose about 26 percent in 1999 to $2.8 billion, while volume increased about 18 percent to two billion pounds, reversing a three-year declining trend.

According to the 1999 Imports and Exports of Fishery Products Annual Summary, shrimp products led the way for import value at just over $3 billion, followed by tuna products at $885 million, salmon (principally cultured Atlantic salmon) at $727 million and lobster products at $719 million. These four groups totaled 61 percent of the U.S. fish and shellfish imports last year.

For volume, shrimp products also led all 1999 imports with an increase of almost 36 million pounds to 731 million pounds. Other import highlights include:

  • 3.2 billion pounds of fresh and frozen products valued at $8 billion
  • 546 million pounds of canned products valued at $682 million
  • 66 million pounds of cured products valued at $145 million
  • 5 million pounds of caviar and roe products valued at over $44 million, and
  • 42 million pounds of other products valued at $100 million.

The volume of U.S. seafood exports in 1999 increased about 18 percent to two billion pounds. In terms of individual items, fresh and frozen exports consisted principally of 211 million pounds of salmon valued at $371 million; 273.9 million pounds of surimi valued at $299 million; and 57.7 million pounds of lobsters valued at $265 million.

Canned exports topped 167 million pounds and were valued at $256 million. Salmon was the major canned export at 114 million pounds valued at $198 million; cured items were 27 million pounds valued at $27 million; and caviar and roe products were 92 million pounds valued at $370 million.

The report is available through the National Marine Fisheries Service's Office of Science and Technology,