On Monday, October 16, America’s Seafood Campaign and Seafood Nutrition Partnership hosted Senator Angus King (I-ME) and Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-ME) to discuss the state of the seafood industry and the importance of investing to promote seafood consumption.
The meeting included a diverse set of perspectives from throughout the local seafood community, including representatives from the Maine Lobstermen’s Association, Bristol Seafood, Coastline Seafood, Maine Coast Fishermen's Association, New England Fishermen’s Stewardship Association, Gulf of Maine Research Institute, Salmones Austral NA, Maine Department of Marine Resources, Maine Lobster Marketing Collaborative, and Cooke Seafood.
More than perhaps any other state, Maine’s identity and economic well-being is tied to seafood. Yet, despite being one of the most lucrative U.S. species, lobster has had a tumultuous year, in large part because of high fuel and bait prices and ill-informed concerns around sustainability. Other species have faced similar challenges, which have hit on-the-ground fishermen and workers especially hard.
Through a national seafood promotion campaign, Congress would not only provide a much-needed boost to seafood workers in Maine and throughout the country but would educate American consumers on the myriad health and sustainability benefits of eating more seafood.
“Right now, the seafood industry is at a crossroads, with blue-collar workers bearing the brunt of an extremely challenging 2023 market. At the same time, life expectancy in the United States has dropped for two consecutive years and Americans continue to suffer from nutrition-related epidemics, such as heart disease, at unacceptably high levels,” stated Ben Tugendstein, Director of America’s Seafood Campaign. “Congress has an opportunity to address both issues through a nationwide education campaign that promotes the undisputed health benefits of seafood. We look forward to working with industry and lawmakers to make this happen.”
America’s Seafood Campaign is a nationwide effort led by the National Seafood Council Task Force of 40 leading seafood organizations. The campaign is connecting stakeholders from the seafood community with Congress and engaging policymakers with the goal to secure funding for a national promotional campaign that will educate American consumers on the health benefits of eating more seafood.