Learning about seafood sustainability begins with studying the controlled environments of fish farming or aquaculture and the wild environments of commercial fishing. Here are some interesting facts about seafood sustainability based on information from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
1. National Standards of Sustainability
Fisheries in the United States are monitored and managed on regional levels, adhering to the 10 National Standards of sustainability. These guidelines are legally enforced and must be followed by all fisheries in the United States to ensure conservation and safety measures are taken. As a result of these standards, catch rates have dropped while fish populations are being rebuilt and U.S. fisheries are evolving to be more sustainable.
2. A Third of the World's Fisheries are in Trouble
Based on reports by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), 28 percent of the world's fisheries have been "over-exploited" with 3 percent depletion and 1 percent recovering. These numbers add up to 32 percent of the world's fisheries being a serious concern with regards to seafood sustainability.
3. Where Does Most Seafood Originate for American Consumers?
Ninety percent of the seafood that is consumed in the United States is imported. A significant amount, however, is caught by American fishermen before it is exported for processing then reimported. Roughly half of imported seafood is farm-raised, which is also true on a global level. About five percent of American seafood is produced from aquaculture environments.
4. Sustainability of American Seafood
The United States is considered the world leader in managing fisheries that produce sustainable seafood. The government regulates when, where, how and how much fishing is done in America. When a stock is overfished, regulators call for a rebuilding plan until scientists determine that a maximum sustainable yield has been achieved.
5. Impact of Seafood on U.S. Economy
According to NAOO, the U.S. seafood industry generated $199 billion in commercial and recreational sales in 2012. Florida, the top fishing state in America, generated $29.7 billion, ahead of California with $25.7 billion. The industry supports over 1 million commercial fishing jobs across the nation.
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