NOAA Seafood Report Released

September 28, 2011

NOAA's annual report on seafood, released Sept. 7, 2011, provides a wealth of information that can be used to cover many related issues.

For communities directly affected by fishing, you can report on economic impacts, changes in the environment due to the take of various species, compliance with and efforts on local fish management plans, long-term economic and environmental trends, recreational marine fishing, and impacts of specific events, such as the BP Gulf oil spill (with seafood volume way down in 2010, but dollar value up slightly).

At a larger scale, you can use the data as a hook to report on issues such as per capita consumption (overall and by various species), aquaculture (which makes up about a third of US supply and about half of foreign supply), trade balances (with the US importing 86% of what it consumes, up 4% from 2009, while exporting 63% of what it catches, also up 4% from 2009), food safety (with only a tiny fraction of imported fish being inspected), and the role of certain countries in the global seafood market.

Another hot topic is mislabeling of fish species, though this report may not help much on that count. But the topic is drawing increasing attention. A few starting points for looking into this issue are: