Five Reasons You Should Buy Local Seafood


Consider this: “A full 91% of seafood Americans eat comes from abroad,” writes author Paul Greenberg in his important new book American Catch, even though our local waters often teem with fresh fish and shellfish. This summer, demand local seafood from the Gulf of Mexico or Atlantic Ocean.

Here’s why:

1. You’re supporting local businesses. You may pay less for cheaper imports such as tiger shrimp and tilapia farmed in southeast Asia, but if you buy local, most likely you’ll be paying for better quality seafood while also supporting local businesses, including the commercial fishermen, middlemen, and markets that supply good fish and shellfish.

2. You’re voting with your wallet and fork. I’ll never forget the time I asked a young guy at a fish counter at the beach in North Carolina if his tuna was local. “Yeah,” he said as he pulled frozen tuna steaks out of a box labeled Product of Indonesia. “Got it in fresh off the boat this morning.” I never went back. Always ask your fishmonger or the chef at your favorite seafood restaurant where their seafood comes from, and hold them accountable for the information. Showing that you care about an ingredient’s provenance builds trust with a vendor, and down the road, it will help guarantee that you get a better product.

3. Quality and taste matter. Chances are you’ll source a better, safer product from local waters, where regulations are more stringent than abroad. U.S. suppliers import seafood from some countries that face little or no regulation when it comes to pollution, catch limits, or chemical additives used to keep seafood “fresher” longer.

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