July 21, 2020By Liza Mayer
A proposal to re-establish the National Seafood Council in the U.S. to improve consumer confidence in and consumption of seafood in the country is now before the U.S. Secretary of Commerce for consideration.
A similar council was originally enacted by Congress in 1987 and ran for a period of five years, from 1987 to 1991, as legislated under the Fish and Seafood Promotion Act of 1986. The seafood industry was to take on the financing of the council after the seed money from original appropriation ran out.
The Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee, which was formed to advise the Secretary of Commerce on matters related to marine resources, now says it’s time to revive the council. It came up with the proposal after investigating over the past 18 months how the federal government can best help improve consumer confidence and consumption of U.S. seafood.
The committee said there is a need to promote seafood’s nutritional value and the inherent sustainability of the management practices in harvesting and farming seafood products in the U.S.
Increasing the consumption of domestic seafood could directly improve the health of the American people, it said, and “facilitating this is not only in the best interest of the seafood industry, but also a service to the public.”
Market disruptions due to COVID-19 have amplified the need for a singular voice to promote the seafood industry. “It is clear that the pandemic created significant, sustained challenges in the seafood supply chain and these challenges only increase the need for a National Seafood Council to enhance resilience for all seafood-related industries in the face of disruptions,” the National Aquaculture Association commented.
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