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.
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:
- Read the news release: Nearly Half of U.S. Seafood Supply Is Wasted
- Read the full study: Wasted seafood in the United States: Quantifying loss from production to consumption and moving toward solutions
Copyright © 2015 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.