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The consumption of seafood in the United States has been held back by perception problems and lack of seafood literacy. Whether it’s concern over the environment, the latest seafood safety scare, or simply a matter of not knowing how to cook seafood, the consumption of seafood in the U.S. has been at a steady low of 14-16 pounds per person for years. At the same time, we know that sustainable seafood, both wild caught and farmed, is a healthy source of lean protein and nutrients. Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend Americans at least double their consumption. Yet, despite these advancements, U.S. consumption remains unchanged since Congress attempted to address the issue in 1986 with the passage of the Fish and Seafood Promotion Act. This Act established and funded a National Fish and Seafood Promotion Council, and allowed for the development of individual industry-funded seafood marketing councils for one or more species of fish. However, funding for the National Council was only available for five years and with a complex spectrum of players and businesses involved with seafood it was difficult for the seafood community to establish a common message and marketing strategy that would resonate with consumers. Is it time to revisit this legislation or consider new legislation that benefits from lessons learned?
The Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee (MAFAC), an advisory body to the Secretary of Commerce and NOAA Fisheries, is examining these questions, the details behind them and assessing the interest and views of the industry on the concept of a National Seafood Council with the focus of public education and providing cohesive facts and information about seafood.
Join members of the Committee as they share their findings to-date and engage in a facilitated discussion. Following the webinar, MAFAC will begin finalizing its findings and drafting recommendations for submission to the Secretary of Commerce.