ANALYSIS - A survey conducted at the International Boston Seafood Show 2013, by TheFishSite.com sister company, trie(SM), showed that while the American seafood sector is changing, most people feel confident about the future and secure in their jobs. Shellfish and salmon are Americans’ favorite seafood and the availability of fish, discards and bycatch are seen as the biggest sustainability challenges facing the industry, combined with consumers’ misconceptions and prejudice against farmed fish.
The International Boston Seafood Show (IBSS) held in Boston, USA 10-12 March 2013, has become an international melting pot featuring huge booths with company representatives from China to Norway, Chile to Morocco and Turkey to Thailand.
With capture fisheries remaining stable and a huge growth being seen in Aquaculture, triesm, a sustainability consultancy group and sister company of TheFishSite.com, wanted to get an idea of how the industry views the future and the challenges it face.
Triesm found that most people are “moderately” to “very positive” about the outlook of the American seafood industry and, despite the overall economic climate, the majority of people also felt their jobs were “secure” to “very secure” for the future.
Despite the positive outlook, the industry still faces many challenges in terms of public misconception of farmed fish being bad and growing pressures over fishing sustainably.
When asked to list the key sustainability challenges facing the seafood industry, 45 per cent across the whole sample said “availability of fish”, coupled with 28.5 per cent mentioning “discard and bycatch”, showing the health of global fisheries are clearly of concern to the industry.
This resonates with FAO’s analysis in the 2012 “The State of Fisheries and Aquaculture” report which argues that “the state of world marine fisheries is worsening and has had a negative impact on fishery production.” FAO goes on to say that “In spite of the worrisome global situation of marine capture fisheries, good progress is being made in reducing exploitation rates and restoring overexploited fish stocks and marine ecosystems through effective management actions in some areas. In the United States of America, 67 per cent of all stocks are now being sustainably harvested, while only 17 per cent are still overexploited.”
Commercial fishers also stated that illegal fishing is one of the biggest challenges they face as it affects the health of the fisheries and can affect prices.
Questions on preference showed that salmon is the most popular seafood with 23 per cent of the votes, followed by shellfish such as scallops, oysters and clams in the 'other' category with 17 per cent.
You can view the full triesm report by clicking here.