Jul 24 2017

Americans Need to Know U.S. Fisheries are Sustainable: Former Senior NOAA Official

July 24, 2017 — Earlier this month, Saving Seafood unveiled our campaign to tell the public that American Seafood is Sustainable Seafood. A recent paper by Mark Helvey, former NOAA Assistant Regional Administrator for Sustainable Fisheries for the Pacific Region, confirms that purchasing U.S.-caught seafood is one of the most sustainable choices consumers can make, and notes that, “Most Americans remain unaware of the high environmental standards by which U.S. federal marine fisheries – and many state fisheries – are managed, in compliance with multiple state and federal laws.”

According to the paper, the standards under which U.S. fishermen operate “conform to or exceed internationally accepted guidelines for sustainable fisheries adopted by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.”

The first recommendation made in the peer-reviewed paper is to “increase awareness…of the high environmental standards by which U.S. federal marine fisheries – and many state fisheries – are managed.”

The paper makes the case that, “Sea Grant Extension Programs in U.S. coastal states and territories have conducted education and out-reach, with NOAA Fishwatch and a number of nongovernmental organizations also helping to bridge this gap. However, further efforts to address this lack of understanding are needed.”

This is precisely the goal of our American Seafood is Sustainable Seafood™ campaign.

Mr. Helvey provided the following summary of his paper to Saving Seafood:

  • The United States is recognized for its robust seafood appetite and strong commitment to environmental conservation. However, efforts to close or restrict its own domestic fisheries in pursuit of environmental protection are often not considered within the context of seafood consumption.
  • Restricting U.S. fisheries comes at the cost of displaced negative environmental impacts associated with the fishing activities of less-regulated, foreign fisheries.
  • The authors provide six solutions for addressing this issue beginning with the need for U.S. consumers becoming more aware of the exceedingly high environmental standards by which U.S. marine fisheries are managed relative to many foreign ones.
  • While efforts by NOAA’s Sea Grant Extension Program, FishWatch, and a number of nongovernmental organizations are bridging the information gap, the authors stress that more is required for increasing awareness that U.S fisheries are sustainable fisheries.

The paper, “Can the United States have its fish and eat it too?,” was published in the January 2017 volume of Marine Policy and is co-authored by Caroline Pomeroy, Naresh C. Pradhan, Dale Squires, and Stephen Stohs.

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