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Commercial Fishing Numbers Up Over The Year

Oregon’s commercial fishing industry jumped to a better-than-average level in 2018. Harvests have been averaging $151 million (2018 dollars) per year since 2010 – after adjusting for inflation. Total landed value increased to $173 million in 2018. This was up from $148 million in 2017. The increase was mainly due to the larger pink shrimp and Dungeness crab harvests. The albacore tuna and groundfish harvest each dropped about 10 percent in 2018 – a loss of about $5 million in total. Salmon and Pacific whiting harvests were fairly stable. Other fisheries combined for a solid increase of about $3 million. Overall revenue jumped 17 percent even though landed volume was up only 4 percent for the year.

Crab harvests in 2018 rose to 23 million pounds, the best harvest since 2013. The season started late, but higher prices made for a record-setting year. The crab harvest was worth $74.5 million in 2018 versus $58.7 million the year before. Dungeness crab is usually Oregon’s most valuable fishery, and it was again, by far, in 2018.

Salmon landings fell again in 2018, to 989,672 pounds. This was the first time that the harvest was less than one million pounds since at least 1980. Prices increased to $5.84 per pound, and the total landed value rose 3 percent to $5.7 million.

The pink shrimp harvest was 36 million pounds in 2018, an increase of 56 percent from 2017, but still a little below average. Shrimp prices jumped to $0.75 per pound, so total value landed rose 112 percent to nearly $27 million, which was slightly above the average of recent years. Oregon pink shrimp was certified as a sustainable fishery by the Marine Stewardship Council in 2007 and reassessed as sustainable in 2011.

The amount of whiting landed fell 8 percent in 2018 to 186 million pounds. Whiting accounted for about 60 percent by weight of all wild seafood landed in Oregon. The price increased a penny per pound so total landed value for this fishery was essentially unchanged in 2018. Much of Oregon’s whiting is made into surimi for use in making artificial crab meat.

The value of groundfish landed decreased 11 percent in 2018 to $31.6 million. The amount landed actually increased 6 percent, but a drop in prices limited revenue.

The albacore tuna harvest rose for the first time in four years. The harvest was up about 22 percent, but the price dropped to $1.67 per pound, so the total value landed was down 10 percent in 2018 to $9.7 million. Albacore has become an important fishery in recent years, especially for smaller boats that depended on salmon.

Some smaller fisheries had notable changes. The Pacific cod harvest decreased from nearly one-half million dollars in 2016 to $8,500 in 2018. The harvests of Eulachon smelt nearly ceased; it fell 94 percent in 2018. The species was listed as threatened in 2010, and has made some recovery. Squid harvests went from zero in 2017 to $3 million in 2018. This fishery is usually very small or very large. Clam harvests were up nearly $275,000 with most species showing gains. Sea urchin harvests were up almost 90 percent to $686,000.

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