Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture
The nation has witnessed the decline of many of its major fisheries while seafood consumption has increased and continues to be encouraged because of its health benefits. To fill the gap between seafood demand and domestic harvests, the United States imports nearly 90 percent of what is consumed leading to a seafood trade deficit of over $10 billion per year. With global wild fisheries harvests at a plateau of around 185 metric tons, some 50 seafood species are now produced from aquaculture. There are no projected increases in wild capture fisheries, but global aquaculture is predicted to increase by 33 percent over the next decade. These projections create opportunities for an expanded U.S. aquaculture industry and for innovative marketing strategies and value-added products for the nation’s wild fisheries industry.
The overall economic impact of the commercial, recreational, for-hire fisheries and aquaculture industries in the United States is over $276 billion. The commercial fishing industry supports approximately 1 million full- and part-time jobs and generates $116 billion in sales. The recreational and for-hire fishing industry generates significant tourism revenue with $73 billion in total economic impact for saltwater fishing and an additional $6 billion annually for Great Lakes recreational and for-hire fisheries. The U.S. aquaculture industry generates an economic impact of $1 billion, provides additional opportunities for job creation, and contributes to meeting the nation’s demand for finfish and shellfish.
Sea Grant continues to play a leadership role in developing innovative technologies for all sectors of the seafood industry, including fishing, aquaculture, seafood processing and consumer safety, to ensure a safe and sustainable supply of seafood products now and for future generations. Seafood safety will continue to be a concern for consumers as foreign imports, some of which are associated with seafood contamination, continue to increase. Sea Grant’s partnership with NOAA Fisheries, state fisheries managers, seafood processors, fishing associations and consumer groups will ensure safe, secure and sustainable supplies of domestic seafood and decrease our reliance on seafood imports.
Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture Goals as defined by the 2014-2017 Strategic Plan
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- Fishery managers and fishermen understand the dynamics of wild fish populations
- The seafood industry is knowledgeable about innovative technologies, approaches and policies.
- Commercial and recreational fishermen are knowledgeable about efficient and responsible fishing techniques.
- The commercial fishing industry is aware of innovative marketing strategies to add value to its product.
- The seafood processing industry learns and understands economically viable techniques and processes to ensure the production and delivery of safe and healthy seafood.
- Fishermen employ efficient fishing techniques, including by catch reduction.
- Fishermen apply techniques to reduce negative impacts on depleted, threatened or endangered species.
- The seafood industry adopts innovative technologies and approaches to supply safe and sustainable seafood.
- The commercial fishing and aquaculture industries adopt innovative marketing strategies to add value to their products.
- The seafood industry adopts techniques and approaches to minimize the environmental impact of their sectors.
- Resource managers establish policies and regulations that achieve a better balance between economic benefit and conservation goals.
- The seafood processing industry implements innovative techniques and processes to create new product forms and ensure the delivery of safe and healthy seafood.
- The U.S. seafood supply is sustainable and safe.
- There is an expansion of the sustainable domestic fishing and aquaculture industries.
- The seafood industry is aware of the standards for safe seafood.
- The seafood industry is knowledgeable about consumer trends regarding seafood sustainability and safety and how to adjust operations to meet emerging demands.
- U.S. seafood consumers have the knowledge to evaluate sustainable seafood choices.
- U.S. seafood consumers have an increased knowledge of the nutritional benefits of seafood products and know how to judge seafood safety and quality.
- The seafood industry adopts standards for safe seafood.
- The seafood industry adopts technologies and techniques to ensure seafood safety.
- U.S. seafood consumers preferentially purchase sustainable seafood products.
- Consumers improve their health through increased consumption of safe and sustainable seafood products.
- The U.S. seafood industry operates sustainably and is economically viable.
- Number of fishermen, seafood processors and aquaculture industry personnel who modify their practices using knowledge gained in fisheries sustainability and seafood safety as a result of Sea Grant activities.
- Number of Sea Grant tools, technologies and information services that are used by our partners/customers to improve ecosystem-based management.
- Economic (market and non-market; jobs and businesses created or retained) impacts derived from Sea Grant activities.