COVID-19 seafood campaign unites wild and farmed fisheries
Consumer campaign is aimed at helping Americans stay healthy during the COVID-19 public health crisis and help boost seafood economy
By Fabian Dawson
Wild fish harvesters and aquaculture groups have come together to launch a consumer-facing campaign to help Americans stay healthy during the current COVID-19 public health crisis as well as help boost the U.S. seafood economy.
“Eat Seafood, America!” launched this week is a 12-week campaign being supported by the new Seafood4Health Action Coalition that is made up of 22 organizations, which was convened by Seafood Nutrition Partnership (SNP).
“The coronavirus poses a significant threat to the future of an industry that employs approximately 2 million people in the U.S. That’s why we’re asking everyone in America to support the seafood community by eating seafood and buying seafood each week,” said Linda Cornish, president of SNP, a non-profit organization building awareness of the health and nutritional benefits of seafood.
“America, by eating seafood, you are supporting your health and helping to save jobs,” she said.
“We need to act quickly to protect our seafood industry from the economic challenges caused by COVID-19 and make sure healthy seafood is available for Americans now and after we come out of this crisis,” added Cornish.
The Seafood4Health Action Coalition of 22 organizations include the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute; Aquaculture Stewardship Council; Aquarium of the Pacific, Seafood for the Future; Chilean Salmon Marketing Council; Coastal Culinary Academy ; FishChoice; FishWise; FMI: The Food Industry Association, Seafood Strategy Leadership Council; Genuine Alaska Pollock Producers; Global Aquaculture Alliance; Global Salmon Initiative; Maine Aquaculture Association; Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association; Marine Stewardship Council; Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch; National Fisheries Institute; NOAA Fisheries & Aquaculture; Pacific Seafood Processors Association; Sea Pact; Seafood Harvesters of America; Seafood Nutrition Partnership; and SeaShare.
Higher intakes of specific nutrients appear to boost the immune system and reduce inflammation in the body, and fish and shellfish are rich in many of these important nutrients, the campaign organisers said in a statement.
“There is strong scientific evidence that eating a balanced diet with seafood rich in micronutrients and omega-3s reduces risks of chronic diseases, boosts immunity, and reduces inflammation in the body,” said Dr. Tom Brenna, Chair of the SNP Scientific & Nutrition Advisory Council and professor at University of Texas-Austin.
The U.S. fisheries and seafood community have been hit hard with the COVID-19 virus as it has dramatically disrupted everyone along the supply chain, from fishermen and water farmers to fish processors to the restaurants.
The leaders of America’s domestic fishing industry have appealed to the Trump administration for help with the severe economic hardship created by the coronavirus epidemic.
With consumers stuck at home and restaurants closed, the $100 billion-per-year demand for U.S. fishery products has evaporated overnight, according to maritime-executive.com.
The industry is calling for about $4 billion in federal assistance to maintain the fishery supply chain until the economy is back on its feet.
(GSI Youtube image shows Seafood Nutrition Partnership (SNP) President Linda Cornish being interviewed on the future of aquaculture in America)