FILE - In this Oct. 12, 2008, file photo, farm-raised Atlantic salmon move across a conveyor belt as they are brought aboard a harvesting boat near Eastport, Maine. Federal data say the United States imported more seafood in 2017 than at any point in its history, and the nation's trade deficit in the sector is growing. Some of the seafood items that American consumers are especially fond of, including salmon, tuna and shrimp, are heavily dependent on foreign imports to make it to U.S. markets and restaurants. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File)

US imported more seafood in 2017 than any prior year

June 24, 2018 - 9:12 am

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Federal data show the United States imported more seafood last year than at any point in history, and the nation's trade deficit in the sector is growing.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration data say the U.S. imported more than 6 billion pounds of seafood valued at more than $21.5 billion in 2017. The country exported more than 3.6 billion pounds valued at about $6 billion.

The data say the seafood trading deficit grew by more than 10 percent from 2016 to 2017. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has identified reducing the deficit as a priority for the federal government.

The U.S. is home to major commercial fisheries for species such as Alaska pollock and New England lobster, but it imports more than 90 percent of the seafood the public consumes.

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