- Division of Marine Fisheries
Media Contact for Massachusetts Seafood Value Returns to More Normal Levels in 2022
After reaching an all-time high of over $800 million in 2021, the ex-vessel value of seafood landed in Massachusetts returned closer to pre-pandemic norms with a total value of approximately $670 million. This value is similar to 2019 and still well above the previous 5-year average (see Figure 1). The previous two years were preceded by a very difficult year for the seafood industry in 2020 when the ex-vessel value of seafood was down significantly due to pandemic-related impacts.
The biggest drivers to the reduction in value for 2022 as compared to 2021 can be traced to two major factors. First, sea scallop landings were down 23% in 2022, resulting in a reduction of $125 million in ex-vessel value. Second the ex-vessel price/lb paid for lobster was down nearly 25% from 2021, resulting in a reduction of $44 million in ex-vessel value. In recent years, sea scallops and lobsters have accounted for approximately 70% of the ex-vessel value of seafood landed in Massachusetts, so it is no surprise that large fluctuations in the value of these species impact the overall value.
The reduction in value in the sea scallop and lobster fisheries was offset, somewhat, by gains in other fisheries. For example, the ex-vessel value of oysters was up $2 million dollars (~6 %) from 2021. The oyster industry was particularly hard hit during the pandemic, but the value has now recovered to pre-pandemic levels. Commercial fishers reported increased expenses in 2022 for fuel, bait, dockage, and ice shrinking their profit margins. Trucking capacity was also an issue for the seafood industry as it was for many other sectors. DMF will be monitoring seafood landings and value, as well as other challenges that arise for the industry throughout 2023.
By Story Reed, Assistant Director