America’s Favorite Seafood Picks

September 28, 2011

What seafood species are the most popular this year? Find out the latest results from the Nation Fisheries Institute

The National Fisheries Institute just released its list of the most consumed types of seafood in the US for 2010. Salmon and tilapia of course made the list, but there were several surprises. In fact, Americans ate 20 percent more tilapia in 2010 than they did in 2009, propelling it from the number five spot to the number four spot with the single largest gain in consumption on the National Fisheries Institute’s (NFI) latest Top Ten Seafood List.

Starting from the bottom… literally, clams take the number 10 spot of most consumed seafood, with 0.341 pounds per capita. Clams are considered either a "best choice", or "good alternative" on Monterey Bay Seafood Watch program which rates seafood on sustainability, healthfulness and other factors.

Next up is pangasius, also known as tra, swai, catfish and basa, which is consumed at 0.405 pounds per capita, a 14 percent jump from the year before. Pangasius is a flaky, tender white fish and therefore easy on the palate; it’s typically both imported and farmed. It’s a "good alternative" on the Seafood Watch list.

And while cod remained at number seven from the previous year, it gained 11 percent into 2011 at 0.463 pounds per capita. Monterey Bay’s cod ratings vary from "best choice" to "avoid" depending where and how the fish was caught.

The seventh most consumed seafood item is crab, with 0.573 pounds per capita eaten per year. Crab also varies on the Monterey Bay Seafood Watch list from "best choice" (for Dungeness, Kona and Stone Crab) to "avoid" (King Crab).

Next up is catfish, at 0.8 pounds per capita. US farmed catfish is a "best choice" according to Monterey Bay.

In the top 5, at number five, is Alaska Pollack, consumed at a rate of 1.192 pounds per capita, and makes the "good alternative" list for Monterey Bay.

As mentioned above is Tilapia, Americans ate a staggering 20 percent more tilapia in 2010 than they did in 2009, a whopping 1.45 pounds per capita. If you are going to consume tilapia Monterey Bay suggests you chose US farmed fish grown in environmentally friendly systems. Imported tilapia is either an "avoid" or "good alternative".

The third most consumed fish is Salmon (not surprising) at nearly 2 pounds (1.999) per person, per year and ranges from a "best choice" to "avoid" according to Seafood Watch.

Next on the list is canned tuna, which Americans are eating 2.7 pounds per person, per year. Refer to Monterey Bay Seafood Watch before choosing your tuna.

And the most consumed seafood is shrimp. Americans on average consume around 4 pounds per year. Most shrimp choices are going to put you in the "best choice" or "good alternative" categories but there are also varieties that Monterey Bay suggests you "avoid".

According to NFI president John Connelly, “If you look at the numbers from 2008, 2009 and now 2010, keeping in mind population growth, we’re hopeful that we’re beginning to see seafood consumption steadying, a trend that makes it poised for gains.”

Seafood Watch Program guidelines from the Monterey Bay Aquarium