Crab harvests in 2011 were over 17 million pounds and prices remained around the $2.50 per pound mark, allowing the fleet to land nearly $45 million worth of crab - a better-than-average harvest. The crab harvest was worth about $33 million in 2010. Dungeness crab remains Oregon's most valuable fishery.
Salmon landings dipped in 2011 to 2.4 million pounds - still below the average level since 2000. Prices stayed high in 2011 at nearly $2.80 per pound and the landed value of the salmon fishery was about $6.7 million - about average for the 2000s.
The pink shrimp harvest shot up 53 percent and the price rose as well so total value more than doubled from 2010 to nearly $25 million in 2011. Oregon pink shrimp is certified as a sustainable fishery by the Marine Stewardship Council and harvests have increased in recent years. The pink shrimp fishery also paid off its federal fleet reduction loan in 2011.
The amount of whiting landed more than doubled in 2011 and combined with a moderate price rise to yield a 185 percent increase in the total landed value for this fishery. This made 2011 the new record year for the landed value in this fishery.
Albacore tuna also managed a good increase in value, about 50 percent. The harvest dipped slightly in 2011, but a higher price netted an increase in total value.
The value of groundfish rose to $28.8 million in 2011 from $25.9 million in 2010. The amount landed actually fell around 22 percent, but a jump in price led to the overall increase in value. Even though the fishery's revenue has increased by about $10 million per year since the fleet reduction buyout program of 2003, the industry has made no progress in paying down the principal on this portion its federal loan.
Some smaller fisheries had notable changes. The harvest of Dover sole continues to decline and was about one-fifth of its level in 2006. The halibut harvest and value rose after falling for several years. Lingcod recorded its highest value since 1997. The harvest of ghost (bait) shrimp fell by nearly 90 percent in 2011. The value of all clams harvested dropped by one third, mostly due to a large drop in the razor clam harvest. An interesting increase has been in the harvest of hagfish, also known as slime eels. The meat is often exported to Korea, where it is considered a delicacy, and the skin can be cured as leather. Harvests increased to a bit more than 2 million pounds in 2011 with a value of about $1.3 million.
Estimated employment in commercial fishing seems to have decreased in 2011, to 1,777 from 1,944 in 2010. Measuring employment in fishing is more difficult than measuring the harvests. Legislation in 1999 allowed most fishermen to be exempt from unemployment insurance coverage - the primary source of employment data. The Oregon Employment Department now estimates the total number of fishermen based on survey data and the number of fishing licenses sold.
The number of fishermen covered by unemployment insurance dropped considerably after 1999, but stabilized in the past few years and even managed a small increase in 2011.
Although the number of fishing vessels has declined from historic highs, fishing is generating more revenue per boat.
In addition to direct employment, commercial fishing provides the resource for seafood processors. There were 25 seafood processors in Oregon that had employees in 2011, one less than the previous year. The annual average employment for the entire industry was 1,125. Some ports, such as Florence and Reedsport, also have fish buyers who now transport the harvest to be processed elsewhere.