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September 28th, 2012

It’s Worth Repeating: Eat Domestic Seafood

By Mitch Jones

Seafood Challenges
It seems every few months we get another report about how hard pressed America’s fishermen are. In April I pointed the troubling signs of increased salmon imports in early 2012. Now reports suggest that China is enjoying a robust year in seafood exports. Individual companies as well as regions within China are reporting double-digit percentage increases in exports. This news of increased pressure from China couldn’t come at a worse time for America’s domestic fishing industry.

Earlier this month Acting U.S. Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank declared the Northeast Groundfish Fishery a disaster. On the same day she also declared a commercial fishery failure on Alaska’s Yukon and Kuskokwim rivers and in the Cook Inlet because of low Chinook salmon returns. These actions will allow the federal government to offer millions of dollars of relief to the fishermen in these fisheries. But temporary relief isn’t enough. We need to protect America’s fishermen from fishery management programs that fail to protect fish, while putting independent fishermen out of business.

But while we’re fighting this fight here in Washington and in the regional fisheries across the country, it’s important to watch what you buy. No matter where you shop, look for domestic seafood. If it’s salmon, ask for U.S. wild caught. If it’s catfish or tilapia, ask for U.S. farmed. And when in doubt, you can consult our Smart Seafood Guide.

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