by Tj Tate, Director of Sustainable Seafood for the National Aquarium
Seafood should become an increased staple in the American diet, according to the 2015 Dietary Guidelines recently published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
However, with the concern of mislabeling and illegal fish entering the marketplace, consumers may unknowingly eat fish containing toxins, allergens or contaminants. It’s a catch 22—a healthy diet should include seafood, but seafood could contain unhealthy components. These seafood labeling issues and traceability standards are concerns that directly affect the consumer, commercial watermen and the health of our fisheries.
This week, the Presidential Task Force on Combating Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing and Seafood Fraud has taken a momentous step toward reformation with the recent release of its Action Plan for Implementing the Task Force Recommendations. We applaud the efforts of the task force and all who have worked tirelessly behind the scenes to improve seafood regulations and ensure a sustainable future. We stand at the ready to assist in key efforts of the plan by engaging with diverse stakeholders during this aggressive implementation rollout.
As the nation takes strides toward change, we also want to recognize those making a difference on the local level. To the seafood champions in the Chesapeake region: Thank you for your continued efforts to ensure responsibility of harvest and sustainability of our resources. It’s through the combined efforts of individuals, communities and governmental bodies that we can effect change and preserve our blue planet for future generations.