North Carolina’s decreased harvest in shrimp and crabs dropped commercial dockside seafood sales by 4 percent in 2009, according to an annual landings report produced by the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries.
Total commercial landings were at 68.6 million pounds in 2009, which was 2.5 million pounds lower than in 2008. The total value of commercial landings also dropped from $86.8 million to $77 million.
The most notable decrease in commercial landings came in shrimp harvests, which dropped by 43 percent from 2008 to 5.4 million pounds in 2009. This decline contributed to a 7.3 million-pound drop in overall shellfish harvests.
“Both our summer and fall shrimp landings were down from previous years,” said Rich Carpenter, the division’s Southeast District manager. “Environmental conditions, such as rainfall, greatly affect the abundance of shrimp in any given season. Market conditions and the price of gasoline also play key roles in the amount of shrimp brought to the docks. ”
Commercial finfish harvests, however, increased 17 percent from 2008 to 32.3 million pounds in 2009.
The most notable increase in commercial finfish landings was with spiny dogfish, which jumped 792 percent to 1.3 million pounds in 2009 due to a quota increase. Bluefish landings increased 22 percent to 2.3 million pounds.
Blue crab continued to top the list of species harvested commercially in the state, with 28.8 million pounds landed in 2009, followed by croaker at 6.1 million pounds, shrimp, summer flounder, at 2.9 million pounds and southern flounder, at 2.4 million pounds.
The report can be downloaded from the division website at http://www.ncfisheries.net/download/2009AnnualNC_FisheriesBulletin.pdf.