Consumption of Fish on the Upswing

For years health professionals have encouraged people to include more fish in their diet. The 2015-20 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend including at least two servings of seafood per week.

For an average 2,000 calorie per day diet, that advice translates into at least 8 ounces of fish and shellfish per week, including one oily fish, for heart and brain benefits. Fish and shellfish are good sources of many vitamins and minerals. Oily fish, such as salmon and fresh tuna, which are particularly high in long chain omega 3 fatty acids, may help to keep your heart healthy. Pregnant or breastfeeding women are encouraged to eat at least eight ounces of seafood per week of omega- 3 fatty acid DHA to improve infant health outcomes.

The National Marine Fisheries Service provides a yearly report on U.S. recreational catch and commercial fisheries landings as well as other aspects of U.S. commercial fishing. In addition, data are reported on the U.S. fishery processing industry, imports and exports of fishery related products and domestic supply and per capita consumption. In October 2016, they released their findings for 2015 and they indicate that people are starting to listen to the recommendation to eat more fish.

The report shows that 2015 was another above average year for fishing and seafood consumption, with the average American adding nearly an extra pound of seafood to their diet. The average American ate 15.5 pounds of fish and shellfish in 2015. The increase is reflected in multiple species across the National Fisheries Institute’s annual Top 10 list. The list in order of popularity includes: shrimp, salmon, tuna, tilapia, Alaska Pollock, pangasius, cod, crab, catfish and clams. The 15.5 pounds of seafood makes the U.S. the second largest consumer of seafood after China and ahead of Japan.

To ensure there are enough fish to eat now and in the future, we should try to eat a wide variety of fish and to buy fish from sustainable sources.

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