A Message from Sam Rauch, Head of NOAA Fisheries
Sustainable Seafood—A U.S. Success Story
October 21, 2013
Most East Coast fishermen know that black sea bass are among the best-eating fish swimming in U.S. waters. They are delicious baked or grilled. What they might not know is that the southern stock of black sea bass—ranging from North Carolina to Florida—were declared successfully rebuilt by NOAA Fisheries, and the new catch limit for this popular fish more than doubled this fall. One of 34 fish stocks declared rebuilt in the U.S. since 2000, black sea bass are just one of the many recent success stories we will be highlighting during National Seafood Month in October.
Seafood is an economic engine for this country, whether buckets of farmed clams at Ivar’s in Seattle or fresh king salmon at Ocean Aire in the District of Columbia, everything that goes into serving meals or filling the shelves of your local seafood counter helps support U.S. fisheries. In recent Congressional testimony, I highlighted some of those facts:
- The U.S. seafood industry—harvesters, seafood processors and dealers, wholesalers and retailers, including imports and multiplier effects—generated $129 billion in sales impacts and $37 billion in income impacts, and supported 1.2 million jobs in 2011.
- Recreational fishing generated $70 billion in sales impacts, $21 billion in income impacts, and supported 455,000 jobs in 2011.
Popular events like National Seafood Month are a perfect opportunity for Fisheries to put a national spotlight on the important role the seafood supply chain plays from the coast to the heartland and back again. It’s also a good time to raise the profile for of U.S. seafood across the spectrum, from well-known, high-value species to lesser-known, underutilized species. In the United States, sustainability is our standard, which makes us a global model. Unfortunately, many U.S. wholesalers, retailers, processors, vendors, and consumers are unaware of the sustainability of U.S. fisheries. The hard work and long-term investment of our fishermen, fishery management councils, and partners need to be more widely understood, and I am working hard to amplify that message wherever I go. Please join me.
And, if you happen to see black sea bass in your local market this fall and winter, here’s a great FishWatch recipe to try. In the meantime, keep checking our FishWatch website all month long for great seafood stories, including science features, culinary Q&As, seafood videos, and more.