47% of Edible Seafood in U.S. is Wasted

Written by on September 28, 2015 in Fish, Other News

New research from Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future (CLF) suggests that as much as 47% of the edible U.S. seafood supply is wasted every year.

Nearly half of the edible seafood supply in the U.S. is wasted.

Nearly half of the edible seafood supply in the U.S. is wasted. Photo credit: Vanessa Pike-Russell via photopin cc.

This is particularly unsettling news because we’re being urged by many sources to eat more seafood since it’s such a healthy source of protein. The 2010 U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommended consuming eight ounces of seafood per person per week. So, we’re encouraged to eat more seafood, but nearly half of it is wasted and fish stocks around the world are already threatened by overfishing, pollution, climate change and much more.

“If we’re told to eat significantly more seafood but the supply is severely threatened, it is critical and urgent to reduce waste of seafood,” study leader David Love, PhD, a researcher with the Public Health and Sustainable Aquaculture project at the CLF and an assistant scientist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, said in a news release.

To determine just how much seafood is wasted, researchers tracked how much was lost at each stage of the supply chain, from the ocean all the way to our dinner tables. Here’s what they found:

  • The U.S. edible seafood supply is approximately 4.7 billion tons per year (domestic and imported)
  • 2.3 billion pounds of that is wasted
  • 573 million pounds were lost as bycatch (untargeted and unwanted catch that’s thrown back to sea, dead or alive)
  • 330 million pounds were lost in distribution and retail
  • 1.3 billion pounds were lost at the consumer level

To put that all in perspective, the researchers estimate “this lost seafood could contain enough protein to fulfill the annual requirements for as many as 10 million men or 12 million women.”

In order to reduce seafood waste the researchers suggest several solutions, like limiting bycatch and packaging seafood into smaller portion sizes.

To learn more:

Copyright © 2015 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.

About the Author

About the Author: Emily Tripp is the Publisher and Editor of MarineScienceToday.com. She holds marine science and biology degrees from the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and a Master of Advanced Studies degree in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. When she's not writing about marine science, she's probably running around outside or playing with her dog. .


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