Report shows US wasting huge amount of seafood

A new study from Johns Hopkins University suggests that the U.S. seafood industry and U.S. seafood consumers are wasting nearly half of the edible seafood available in the United States.

The study is based on existing research and datasets from several countries, and covers the period from 2009 to 2013. According to the study, anywhere from 40 to 47 percent of edible seafood in the United States “went uneaten” during those four years.

Most of these losses (51 to 63 percent) happened at the consumer level, both in and out of the home. Commercial fishing bycatch discards made up 16 to 32 percent of those losses, and distribution and retail operations were responsible for the rest.

The report estimated a total of about 208,000 metric tons of seafood was wasted in the time period studied. With a gap currently between the amount of seafood Americans eat and the amount recommended by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the report estimates that if Americans ate the wasted seafood, it would have closed the gap by about 36 percent. The wasted seafood also could provide all of the annual recommended protein for 10.1 million men or 12.4 million women.

The report acknowledged that not all of the seafood mentioned in the report would necessarily be eaten, as bycatch should be left in the ocean and “a portion of loss is also unavoidable.” The authors said, however, that they hoped the report would highlight the need to do more to reduce waste in the seafood industry, which would take pressure off fisheries to produce.


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