U.S. Seafood Consumption Drops in 2007
Americans didn't eat quite as much seafood in 2007 as they did the previous year.
U.S. per-capita seafood consumption slipped from 16.5 pounds in 2006 to 16.3 pounds last year, the National Marine Fisheries Service reported yesterday. It reached a record 16.6 pounds in 2004.
Shrimp consumption fell from 4.4 pounds in 2006 to 4.1 pounds last year, the same total seen in 2005. The drop in shrimp consumption mirrors the drop in shrimp imports, which represent more than 90 percent of the U.S. shrimp supply. U.S. shrimp imports fell 5.7 percent, to 1.23 billion pounds, in 2007.
Americans ate 12.1 pounds of fresh and frozen seafood, down from 12.3 pounds in 2006. Consumption of fillets and steaks also slipped, from 5.2 pounds in 2006 to 5 pounds in 2007. However, canned seafood consumption, which consists primarily of tuna, remained at 3.9 pounds per person.
Americans devoured a total of 4.908 billion pounds of seafood last year, down from 4.944 billion pounds in 2006. Only the Chinese and Japanese eat more seafood than Americans.
Jim Balsiger, acting assistant administrator for NMFS, used the opportunity to promote the National Offshore Aquaculture Act of 2007, which would establish a regulatory framework for open-ocean aquaculture in U.S. waters.
"Expanding U.S. aquaculture would provide consumers with more affordable, locally and regionally produced, safe and healthy seafood," he says. "The development of domestic aquaculture will complement our wild fisheries and help revitalize waterfront economies."