Recently in the media, the seafood category of farm raised Chinese shrimp has been dragged through the mudhole of modern day sensationalism and it has effectively painted, with a broad brush, the entire farm raised seafood industry as something to avoid and be repulsed by.
This type of attention getting media that focuses upon the unacceptable farming and selling practices of a very few bad apples unfortunately tends to spoil the entirety of our rapidly improving aquaculture industry that today supplies over 50% of seafood worldwide and approximately 70% of our seafood consumed in the United States.
It would be a travesty if such exaggerated and unbalanced reporting drives consumers away from choosing to eat seafood at least twice a week as recommended by the United States 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for achieving and maintaining personal health. Currently only one in ten Americans follows such guidance. Tabloid like stories that tell only the worst instances of poor aquaculture practices without balancing it with the good news of aquaculture’s ever- improving advancements unfortunately stifles the efforts to bring seafood to our dinner plates in place of a serving of meat from livestock.
The bottom line is that our global population will expand to approximately 10 billion by 2050 and land based livestock and wild fisheries cannot provide us with the extra animal protein that will be needed. Aquaculture is currently the fastest growing animal protein production system in the world and now produces more than the global beef industry.
Our seafood industry needs to boldly proclaim in the coming new year that farm raised seafood is critically essential now and will continue to be so in the future for improving humanity’s health and wellbeing both globally and at home in the United States.
In parting, here is an interesting perspective to ponder: 12% of our entire Earth’s surface (all land/water surfaces) is used to produce our crops and livestock. In contrast, less than 1/100th of 1% of our Beautiful Blue Planet’s surface is devoted to aquaculture.
Wishing Everyone a Very Happy New Year!
David Glaubke, Director of Sustainability Initiatives
Go Blue! For Our Health – For Our Environment – For Sustainability