Aquaculture Poll Shows Americans Want More Local Seafood and Stronger Environmental and Consumer ProtectionsAugust 4, 2021
(WASHINGTON – Aug. 4, 2021) As summer heats up and Americans turn to grilling their tuna and gathering for clam bakes, a new poll released by Environmental Defense Fund reveals voters are open to consuming more home-grown seafood if it adheres to strong consumer and environmental standards for fish that’s farmed in the U.S.
According to the poll, 84% of voters support a proposal that “would first examine the risks and opportunities of fish farming (also known as aquaculture) in U.S. federal waters before setting high standards and regulation for safe and sustainable aquaculture.”
The poll comes as there has been growing interest in aquaculture in U.S. federal waters. Internationally, the near-and-offshore aquaculture industry is well-established. Americans import more than 85% of all the seafood we eat, and more than half of that is farmed. But it often comes from countries that lack strong standards for safety and sustainability.
“Americans value local seafood and want to know that the fish they eat is caught or raised safely and sustainably,” said Eric Schwaab, Senior VP for Ecosystems and Oceans. “As aquaculture is increasingly a part of our seafood choices, special efforts are needed to get aquaculture right. By developing a new national standard, the United States can lead the way in ensuring that we meet consumer demand and grow local business while also reducing the environmental footprint of food production.”
Click here to see a memo of the results.
Nearly 70% of respondents who eat seafood are concerned about where their seafood comes from, and across the board, nearly 9 in 10 voters signal that increasing regulations, setting higher standards for seafood, making seafood more sustainable for the long term and reducing the environmental harms that can result from fish farming are priorities.
These concerns cut across the aisle, too — with 92% of Democrats, 86% of Republicans and 85% of Independents overwhelmingly agreeing on the need for stronger regulations on seafood sold in the U.S.
Like other forms of food production, aquaculture has its risks, and voters are concerned about the health and environmental impacts of both foreign and domestic aquaculture. However, 73% of voters say they are likely to eat more seafood if it was raised or caught in the United States and 71% are likely to eat more if it came from sources that will sustainably continue to provide seafood over the long term.
“We already benefit from nearshore aquaculture for things like shellfish and seaweed. We have the opportunity to proactively set a high sustainability bar for offshore aquaculture in federal waters,” Schwaab added.
That’s why EDF announced its recent initiative to ensure that domestic aquaculture in the U.S. is done in the most environmentally sustainable way possible and prioritizes economic growth and jobs for historically disadvantaged communities: those experiencing the greatest burdens of environmental…