By PATRICK WHITTLE
PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — America’s commercial fishing industry fell 10% in catch volume and 15% in value during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. Officials with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration say the 2020 haul of fish was 8.4 billion pounds, while the value of that catch was $4.8 billion. NOAA officials say the early months of the pandemic posed numerous challenges for the U.S. fishing industry, which they say has remained economically viable despite the difficult year. However, fishermen in some sectors still managed to have productive years. Value was still fairly high for harvesters of lobsters and sea scallops.