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What is Sustainable Seafood?

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration defines sustainable seafood as the most environmentally efficient source of protein on the planet. In the United States, both wild-caught and farmed fish and shellfish are managed under a system of enforced environmentally responsible practices. Both wild-capture and farmed fish are essential for ensuring sustainable supplies of seafood are available for our nation and the world.

Is U.S. Seafood Sustainable?

From wild-capture fisheries to farmed fish facilities, the United States is a recognized global leader in sustainable seafood.

Wild-capture marine fisheries in the United States are conducted under science-based fishery management plans developed by regional fishery management councils through an open, public process using the best scientific information available. By law, U.S. seafood must be caught according to fishery management plans that consider social and economic outcomes for fishing communities, prevent over fishing, rebuild depleted stocks, minimize bycatch and interactions with protected species and identify and conserve essential fish habitat. Through this process, fish populations are managed to provide for today’s needs while allowing the species to reproduce and be available for future generations.

How does the NOAA Make Sure U.S. Fisheries are Sustainably Managed?

U.S. fisheries are scientifically monitored, regionally managed, and legally enforced under 10 national standards of sustainability. Managing sustainable fisheries is a dynamic process that requires constant attention to new scientific information, so that management actions can adapt to changing ocean conditions.

Fishery managers use a variety of scientific information—stock assessments and species and ecosystem research—to set harvest and operational requirements for each fishery. These requirements support the goals of sustaining fish populations, protecting habitat and other species, and keeping fishermen on the job. Even if a species is over fished, this management system allows for restricted harvest levels to rebuild the stock and keep responsible fishermen on the water and fishing communities at work. So you can be assured the U.S. seafood you see at the store is being actively managed for today’s consumers and future generations.

Article and information courtesy of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/.