A new poll released by Environmental Defense Fund indicates U.S. voters are open to consuming more home-grown seafood that adheres to strong consumer and environmental standards for American aquaculture.
The poll found 84 percent of voters support a proposal that “would first examine the risks and opportunities of fish farming (also known as aquaculture) in U.S. federal waters before setting high standards and regulation for safe and sustainable aquaculture.”
“Americans value local seafood and want to know that the fish they eat is caught or raised safely and sustainably,” EDF Senior Vice President for Ecosystems and Oceans Eric Schwaab said. “As aquaculture is increasingly a part of our seafood choices, special efforts are needed to get aquaculture right. By developing a new national standard, the United States can lead the way in ensuring that we meet consumer demand and grow local business while also reducing the environmental footprint of food production.”
For respondents who eat seafood, nearly 70 percent are concerned with the origin of their seafood. Just under nine in 10 voters indicate they would support increasing regulations, setting higher standards for seafood, and making seafood more sustainable.
The poll broke down respondents based on political party affiliation and found little differentiation – 92 percent of Democrats, 86 percent of Republicans, and 85 percent of independents agreed on the need for increased oversight of seafood sold in the U.S.
“We already benefit from nearshore aquaculture to produce shellfish and seaweed. We have the opportunity to proactively set a high sustainability bar for offshore aquaculture in federal waters,” Schwaab added.
EDF said it sees a growing interest in aquaculture development in U.S. federal waters. EDF said it is responding to the poll results and seeking to growing consumer awareness of the state of aquaculture in the country by increasing research on potential aquaculture development opportunities in the U.S., developing legislation that increases oversight of aquaculture production, and advocating for an expanded U.S. aquaculture industry.
The poll was conducted by Benenson Strategy Group and surveyed 800 registered voters nationwide from 9 to 15 July. The margin of sampling error is 3.4 percent at a 95 percent confidence interval.
Photo courtesy of Christian Heinz/Shutterstock