MOREHEAD CITY, N.C. (AP) -- North Carolina officials say commercial fishing in the state declined by weight last year even as shrimp volume increased to a record high.
- Commercial fishing in N.C. has declined by weight.
- It's down 9 percent from the previous year.
- Biologists say the drop in volume is due to a decrease in hard blue crab landings.
The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries issued a release this month saying fishermen sold about 54 million pounds (24 million kg) of fish and shellfish to North Carolina dealers in 2017. That's down about 9 percent from the previous year and below the five-year average.
But the $96.5 million estimated value of the catch was slightly higher than the previous year.
Biologists say the drop in volume is largely due to a decrease in hard blue crab landings by more than a quarter from the previous year.
Meanwhile, shrimp landings increased to the highest volume on record since the state began its current measurement program in 1994.