Seafood Consumption in U.S. Drops 4% as Prices Rise

by / Newsroom Ink on November 20, 2013
The U.S. is not the only country seeing a decrease in seafood consumption.  In Spain, a country leading European seafood consumption has seen a fall of 8% since 2008 due to the economic crisis according to reports in Europa Press.

The U.S. is not the only country seeing a decrease in seafood consumption. Spain, a country leading European seafood consumption, has seen a fall of 8% since 2008 due to the economic crisis according to reports in Europa Press. Photo: Ed Lallo/Newsroom Ink

Editors Note:  Report compiled from international publications.

Since the economic collapse of 2008, seafood consumption in the United States has continued a seven-year decline according to recently released data from a seafood industry trade association.  During the past year consumption by American consumers has fallen 4% per person.

Citing data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Fisheries Institute reported Americans on average ate 14.6 pounds of seafood in 2012, down from 16.5 pounds in 2006 — a drop of nearly 14 percent. The data shows stable per capita consumption from 2003 to 2007, ranging from 16.2 pounds to 16.6 pounds.

Acting NOAA assistant administrator for fisheries Sam Rauch is

Acting NOAA assistant administrator for fisheries Sam Rauch.  Photo: NOAA

“Healthy, sustainable fish and shellfish stocks are incredibly important to our nation’s social and economic fabric,” Sam Rauch, acting NOAA assistant administrator, told Fishupdate.com. “The high landings and value of seafood in 2012 support the three-decade long effort that has gone into ending overfishing in the U.S. Thanks to our partners, the regional fishery management councils and especially U.S. fishermen, we now have some of the most responsibly managed, sustainable fisheries in the world.”

“It’s definitely cost,” said James Wright, senior editor of Seafood Business, which reports on the industry for seafood buyers and sellers. “We’re in the land of the dollar meal. There’s not a lot of seafood that fits into that price scenario.”

“As a chef, to see the numbers showing a steady decline in seafood consumption is disconcerting,” said Bryce Shuman, executive chef of Betony restaurant in New York. “The ocean offers such a wide variety of precious delicacies, and it would be a shame to see them overlooked by the public.”

But as seafood consumption declines at home, many restaurants report an increase in the popularity of seafood.

“I actually see a huge increase in both fish and vegetable consumption in the restaurant world,” said David Santos, chef of Louro in New York City.

The U.S. is not the only country seeing a decrease in seafood consumption.  Spain, a country leading European seafood consumption, has seen a fall of 8% since 2008 due to the economic crisis according to reports in Europa Press.

“Since 2010, you’ve seen a downward trend in per capita seafood consumption,” Seafood Nutrition Partership’s executive director Linda Cornish told IntraFish. “I’m not surprised, I’m disappointed. I hate to see a number like that.”

Cornish, whose group is working to raise American consumer awareness about the health and nutritional benefits of eating seafood, sees the bleak numbers as a wake-up call to the seafood industry.

“I hope this is a signal to everyone in the seafood industry that this is urgent,” Cornish said. “We can’t wait another day to get behind an effort to help Americans understand that seafood is healthy for them and they need to understand why.”

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About the Author

About the Author: Ed Lallo is the former editor of Gulf Seafood News and CEO of Newsroom Ink, an online brand journalism agency. .

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