Dispelling the Gulf Seafood Myths

Articles
July 08, 2010

Dispelling the Gulf Seafood Myths

Just as Americans are getting the message that a diet rich in seafood will lead to healthier lives, it appears that the media is undermining the messages with their own “fish tales” of unsafe seafood from the impact of the BP oil spill on the fisheries in the Gulf of Mexico

Just as Americans are getting the message that a diet rich in seafood will lead to healthier lives, it appears that the media is undermining the messages with their own “fish tales” of unsafe seafood from the impact of the BP oil spill on the fisheries in the Gulf of Mexico.

Reports from major news agencies including CNN are stating that 40 percent of fish harvested in the continental 48 states come from the Gulf of Mexico, where the spill occurred. This is not true and in fact only 2 percent of the seafood that Americans consume comes from the Gulf and only 17 percent of the seafood Americans eat is domestic!

According to new data from a continuing survey conducted by the University of Minnesota, Americans are very concerned about the oil spill’s potential impact on the safety of Gulf seafood. When asked how the oil spill will affect their consumption of seafood, 54 percent report some impact, with 44 percent of that group saying they will only eat seafood that they know it does not come from the Gulf of Mexico, and another 31 percent say they will eat less seafood regardless of where it comes from.

Here are some simple facts:

• Seafood from the Gulf of Mexico is safe and healthy because the waters surrounding the spill are closed to fishing. Officials have tested thousands of samples from the rest of the Gulf and have found no contamination. In fact officials are testing more seafood than in the past and haven’t had to reject a single fish for contamination. 
• Check out Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch website or app to help determine which fish are best to eat. Monterey Bay even has a few pocket guides that you can bring when shopping. The program rates fish on a range of issues including the status of the wild stock, the management of farmed fish, and bycatch issues. 
• When shopping be sure to check the label for country of origin- certain countries are known to have lax fishing policies. Supermarket Guru recommends you ask your fish monger or print out a list of Monterey Bay’s ‘best choices’ in seafood when shopping. 
• Research the current status of safe fishing choices and the progress in the Gulf at these sites - National Fisheries InstituteSeafood WatchFishWatch, and the Food & Drug Administration .
• Daily updates regarding the ongoing commercial seafood harvest are also available by calling the toll-free Florida Seafood Hotline at 1-800-357-4273 or by visiting www.FL-Seafood.com or www.louisianaseafoodnews.com.

Supermarket Guru wants to remind you of the many health benefits of fish, but just make sure your fish dinner is properly sourced. For more reading on one of the most healthful fish in the sea and a favorite of SupermarketGuru.com click here