National seafood marketing effort in US takes step closer to government funding

A sign on the exterior of the Senate Committee on Appropriations.

The effort to create a national seafood marketing board in the United States has gained traction with a funding nod by the U.S. government.

The U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies recently released an explanatory statement on a bill heading to the U.S. Senate that includes a specific order to begin pursuing a National Seafood Council. A specific order in the 222-page document directs NOAA to begin detailing how it facilitate such a council.

“The committee recognizes the sustainability and important nutritional benefits of seafood consumption, and that promoting seafood on a national scale may lead to increased seafood consumption and a stronger seafood industry,” the report states. “Within 180 days from enactment of this act, the committee directs NOAA to provide a report to the committee detailing how the agency would facilitate the National Seafood Council through the Fisheries Promotion Fund to support a comprehensive, nationwide seafood marketing and public education campaign.”

The idea of resurrecting a national seafood marketing effort was first brought up during a meeting of the Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee panel in 2019. The U.S. previously tried to establish a National Seafood Council after the U.S. Fish and Seafood Promotion Act was enacted in 1986, but the underfunded effort lasted only five years before dissolving.

The initial meeting in 2019 began a groundswell of support for a national marketing board, such that in 2021 more than 60 U.S. seafood organizations sent a letter to congress supporting the necessary appropriations to resurrect the National Seafood Council.

“The goal for this national seafood campaign is to help America build a more-resilient seafood sector,” SNP President Linda Cornish told SeafoodSource at the time. “Our messaging as we communicate to consumers will be at the highest point of agreement, which is seafood is healthy for us to eat.”

Since that time, other campaigns have shown the promise of a national marketing effort. Seafood Nutrition Partnership (SNP) and the Seafood4Health Coalition launched the Eat Seafood America! campaign in 2020, and reported an 800 percent return on investment.

At a panel held at the 2022 edition of Seafood Expo North America in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A. several leaders of the initiative said funding to form the council appeared to be in reach, bringing seafood to parity with a number of other food-related industries.

“Other commodity campaigns like milk, beef, eggs, avocados have millions [of dollars] a year to market their product,” SNP President Linda Lai Cornish said during the session. 

Photo courtesy of DCStockPhotography/Shutterstock


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