Keeping Track: Seafood spending

Americans shell it out for fish

While that crab leg you just swirled in butter might taste good, most Americans prefer something more pedestrian: canned tuna. Americans down 3.4 pounds of tuna per year compared with 0.6 pounds of crab.

Crab ranks seventh on the on the list of preferred seafoods, says the National Fisheries Institute. Tuna, shrimp, pollock (for fish sticks), cod, and salmon are the Top 5. Rankings may shift as seafood processors experiment with "food binding" - using proteins from beef, even, to "glue" scallops into bigger servings.

While seafood spending continues to grow, depleted fisheries and tougher restrictions have led many fishermen to quit. Still, the US fishing fleet is the fifth-largest producer of seafood in the world. In 1998 US commercial fishermen landed 9.2 billion pounds of fish and shellfish, valued at about $3.1 billion.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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