Dutch Harbor ranks as nation’s top port for 20th consecutive year

The crew of the F/V Polar Sea offloads Opilio crab in Unalaska.
(Laura Kraegel/KUCB)

For the 20th year in a row, Dutch Harbor has been recognized as the largest fishing port in America.

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The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) made the announcement Wednesday in its annual fisheries study.

Unalaska’s port held on to its longtime title easily, hauling 770 million pounds of commercial seafood in 2016.

(Courtesy of NOAA Fisheries)

“Walleye pollock continues as the big catch there,” said Ned Syr, Director of the NOAA Fisheries Office of Science and Technology.

Dutch Harbor’s haul was worth $198 million in total. That’s down $20 million and 17 million pounds from the previous year.

City officials blame the dip on a bad year for Bering Sea crab fisheries, which suffered slashed quotas and canceled seasons. They’ve said Unalaska’s budget has already taken a small hit.

Meanwhile, Alaska continues to lead all other states in commercial landings. Alaska fisherman brought in 5.6 billion pounds of seafood, more than half the national total.

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Laura Kraegel covers Unalaska and the Aleutian Islands for KUCB . Originally from Chicago, she first came to Alaska to work at KNOM, reporting on Nome and the Bering Strait Region. (laura@kucb.org / 907.581.6700)

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