The NOAA Fisheries, Fisheries Statistics Division has automated data summary programs that anyone can use to rapidly and easily summarize U.S. commercial fisheries landings.

Landings Background Information


Cobia (Rachycentron canadum)
Photo Credit: Manooch and Raver, � Copyright

The NOAA Fisheries and its predecessor agencies, the U.S. Fish Commission and Bureau of Commercial Fisheries, began collecting fisheries landings data in 1880. Landings data were collected during surveys of a limited number of states and years between 1880 and 1951. Comprehensive surveys of all coastal states have been conducted since 1951. Years, areas and completeness of landing surveys prior to 1977 are listed in the publication, "Fisheries Statistics of the U.S., 1977."

The collection of U.S. commercial fisheries landings data is a joint state and federal responsibility. The cooperative State-Federal fishery data collection systems obtain landings data from state-mandated fishery or mollusk trip-tickets, landing weighout reports provided by seafood dealers, federal logbooks of fishery catch and effort, and shipboard and portside interview and biological sampling of catches. State fishery agencies are usually the primary collectors of landings data, but in some states NOAA Fisheries and state personnel cooperatively collect the data. Survey methodology differs by state, but NOAA Fisheries makes supplemental surveys to ensure that the data from different states and years are comparable.

Statistics for each state represent a census of the volume and value of finfish and shellfish landed and sold at the dock rather than an expanded estimate of landings based on sampling data. Principal landing statistics that are collected consists of the pounds and ex-vessel dollar value of landings identified by species, year, month, state, county, port, water and fishing gear. Most states get their landings data from seafood dealers who submit monthly reports of the weight and value of landings by vessel. Increasingly, however, states are switching to mandatory trip-tickets to gather landings data. At the conclusion of every fishing trip, seafood dealers and fishermen indicate their landings by species on trip-tickets and may be required to record other data such as fishing effort and area fished.

This page was last modified February 6, 2007 .

Photo Credits
All fish pictures, unless otherwise noted, are used with the permission of Charles S. Manooch, III and Duane Raver, Jr. These copyrighted pictures are from their book, "Fishermen's Guide: Fishes of the Southeastern United States.