Identifying Opportunities for Aligning Production and Consumption in the U.S. Fisheries by Considering Seasonality
Seasonality is a natural feature of wild caught fisheries that introduces variation in food supply, and which often is amplified by fisheries management systems. Seasonal timing of landings patterns and linkages to consumption patterns can have a potentially strong impact on income for coastal communities as well as import patterns. This study characterizes the relationship between seasonality in seafood production and consumption in the United States by analyzing monthly domestic fisheries landings and imports and retail sales of farmed and wild seafood from 2017 to 2019. Analyses were conducted for total seafood sales, by product form, by species group, and by region of the United States. The data reveal strong seasonal increases in consumption around December and March. Seasonal increases in consumption in Spring and Summer occurred in parallel with domestic fishing production. Domestic landings vary by region, but most regions have peak fishing seasons between May and October. Alaska has the largest commercial fishery in the United States and seasonal peaks in Alaska (July/August, February/March) strongly influence seasonality in national landings. Misalignment between domestic production and consumption in some seasons and species groups creates opportunities for imports to supplement demand and lost opportunities for domestic producers.