According to the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries, North Carolina commercial seafood harvests increased during 2010 to the highest level since 2005.
North Carolina commercial fishermen brought in 72 million pounds of fish and shellfish, with a dockside value of $80 million in 2010, according to the division’s Commercial Trip Ticket Program. That was a 3 percent increase from the previous five-year landings average of 70 million pounds.
The increased harvest came with a 3 percent decrease in the number of commercial fishing trips. Commercial fishermen took 152,084 fishing trips in 2010.
Included in the commercial gains was an 8 percent increase in shellfish, shrimp and crab landings, bolstered by an 81 percent jump in oyster landings.
Oystermen sold more than 1 million pounds of oyster meats (196,661 bushels), with a dockside value of about $5 million, to North Carolina seafood dealers in 2010. The landings were 125 percent higher than the previous five-year average and corresponded to a 139-percent increase in the use of oyster dredges.
Division sampling indicates that disease-related oyster mortalities have been significantly reduced, compared to the past 20 years, and spat fall has been good, said division Central District Manager Mike Marshall.
“The oyster resource in western Pamlico Sound has rebounded at an amazing rate,” Marshall said. “Oysters are being caught in areas where they have not been found in thirty years. Every fisherman you talk to goes on about how fast the oysters are growing, which is key to getting the type of production we are seeing.”
Blue crab landings increased in 2010, as well. Fishermen sold 30.7 million pounds of blue crabs at the docks, a 2 percent increase from 2009. The landings had a dockside value of $26.5 million.
Blue crabs remained the state’s top commercial seafood in both pounds harvested and dockside value, followed by Atlantic croaker (7.3 million pounds), shrimp (6 million pounds), summer flounder (3.3 million pounds) and bluefish (3.2 million pounds).
A full report of 2010 commercial and recreational landings statistics can be found on the division website at http://www.ncfisheries.net/download/2010_Annual_NC_Fisheries_Bulletin.pdf
source: N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries