NOAA 2004-091
Contact: Kim Kaplan

NOAA News Releases 2004
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Americans ate a record 16.3 pounds of fish and shellfish per person in 2003, up from 15.6 pounds in 2002, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced today. Published in its annual report, “Fisheries of the United States,” NOAA has been calculating the nation’s seafood consumption to keep the industry informed since 1910. NOAA is an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

The 2003 figure is a 0.7-pound increase over 2002, representing a four percent increase. According to the National Marine Fisheries Service, of the total 16.3 pounds consumed, a record 11.4 pounds were fresh and frozen finfish and shellfish.

“Along with the latest news from NOAA that fish populations are rebuilding, we have plenty of reasons to incorporate more fish into our diets,” said Bill Hogarth, director of NOAA Fisheries. “The U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services and Agriculture are recommending that Americans double their intake of fish to two servings per week as part of a heart-healthy diet.”

Among the 4.7 billion pounds of seafood consumed last year in the United States was 4.6 pounds per person in canned fish, up 0.3 pounds from 2002, and a record four pounds of shrimp consumed per person, also up 0.3 pounds from 2002. The canned fish increase came primarily from a 0.3-pound increase in per capita canned tuna consumption.

This extends the continued upward trend of seafood consumption in the United States in recent years. Seafood consumption was 14.9 pounds per capita five years ago.

NOAA Fisheries’ 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.

NOAA Fisheries is dedicated to protecting and preserving our nation’s living marine resources, and the habitat on which they depend, through scientific research, management and enforcement. NOAA Fisheries provides effective stewardship of these resources for the benefit of the nation, supporting coastal communities that depend upon them, while helping to provide safe and healthy seafood to consumers and recreational opportunities for the American public.

NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of our nation’s coastal and marine resources.

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NOAA Fisheries:

U.S. Annual Per Capita Consumption Seafood and Shellfish
Pounds of Edibile Meat

Year Fresh and Frozen Canned Cured Total
1998 10.2 4.4 0.3 14.9
2002 11.0 4.3 0.3 15.6
2003 11.4 4.6 0.3 16.3

U.S. Annual Per Capita Consumption of Canned Fishery Products, Pounds
Year Salmon Sardines Tuna Shellfish Other Total
1998 0.3 0.2 3.4 0.3 0.2 4.4
2002 0.5 0.1 3.1 0.3 0.2 4.4
2003 0.4 0.1 3.4 0.4 0.3 4.6

U.S. Annual Per Capita Consumption of Certain Fishery Items, Pounds
Year Fillets and Steaks Sticks and Portions Shrimp
1998 3.2 0.9 2.8
2002 4.1 0.8 3.7
2003 4.3 0.7 4.0