NFI calls for responsible journalism

The National Fisheries Institute on Monday released an open letter to media outlets urging them to provide fair and balanced coverage of the seafood industry and to view with skepticism information originating from environmental groups.

The letter sites examples from USA Today, the New York Times and several other news outlets that reported inaccurate or misleading information about mercury levels in fish and other seafood-related health, nutrition and sustainability issues.

NFI said the misinformation comes largely from environmental groups pushing for stronger mercury emission standards and falsely claiming women of childbearing age may have unsafe levels of mercury in their blood.

The McLean, Va.-based industry group also says inaccurate media reports about seafood lead readers and viewers to act in ways harmful to their health.

The letter provides facts to counter common mistakes reported in the mainstream media and recommends that reporters seek out opposing views when an issue is in dispute.

NFI said it wants an open dialogue with journalists and encourages feedback on the issues but advises it will be vigilant about confronting distortions and errors publicly.

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