Over 91 percent of the seafood sold in the United States is imported from other countries.The red drum fish however, is a species that is native to our Sarasota waters. It is a tasty, white-filleted fish, but for years, you could not purchase it locally since it is a restricted species. If you or a restaurant wanted to purchase red drum, it would have to be from a supplier that sourced the fish from Vietnam, which is not even a region where red drum is naturally found. At Indigenous, this does not align with our philosophy and commitment to providing our customers with the freshest seafood from local and sustainable sources.
Aquaculture is the Answer
In the past aquaculture has been met with mixed opinions mainly because it is not fully understood. According to Dr. Kevan Main, senior scientist and program manager for Mote Marine & Freshwater Aquaculture Research Program:“Red drum is a perfect fish for aquaculture as they adapt well to cultured environments. Our Mote breeders know how to spawn them, we know the steps of production, what they eat, what density of fish per unit area, and so on.”
With over 30 years of experience in aquaculture research, Dr. Main is running Mote’s project growing marine fish, including red drum that will be new technology into the hands of regional aqua-farmers. The breeders at Mote are growing red drum in an environment that mimics their natural environment, including native sea plants like sea purslane.
Protecting Threatened Species and Jobs
Aquaculture is essential to protecting and maintaining a sustainable supply of many of the types of seafood that are native to our waters. Overfishing and invasive species, including the destructive lionfish have resulted in having to list many of the shellfish and fish native to Florida waters as restricted species to protect them from extinction.
The restrictions on what fish and shellfish can be caught has been bad for the fishing and restaurant industry in terms of job loss and having to pay higher prices for seafood. This is bad for the economy and causes restaurants to have to recoup their expenses by passing those costs onto their customers. Supporting aquaculture is good for the economy since it creates jobs and keeps a steady supply of sustainable seafood available to consumers and restaurants.