Get to Know Your Seafood from Ocean to Plate
[ music and rushing water] [ music ] Narrator: We all know seafood is important for a healthy diet, but do you know where your seafood comes from? Here’s something to think about the next time you’re choosing seafood. The United States is a global leader in responsibly managed fisheries and sustainable seafood, so when you buy U.S. seafood, you’re not only making a healthy choice, you’re making a sustainable choice. [ music ] Our fisheries are some of the largest and most valuable in the world. In fact, the U.S. approach to managing fisheries has become an international model for addressing the challenges facing global ocean fisheries today. Jim Ford: We have some of the strictest regulations in the world in the United States, so I think we have a good product just because of the regulations that we have and sustainability is very important not only for the fish but the fishermen. Narrator: Jim Ford and other U.S. commercial fishermen work hard to bring you fresh, responsibly harvested seafood from the ocean to your plate. Jim Ford: I have a great deal of pride in what we catch. I know our stuff’s fresh and we take care of it. I mean, our stuff gets trucked right to the dealer right away. Most of the time our stuff is within 15 hours from being at the dealer ready to cut. Narrator: So exactly how does U.S. seafood get to your plate? [ music ] Commercial fishermen running day-boats leave port before sunrise. They travel to their favorite fishing grounds and work long hours on the water. Late in the day, they return home with their daily allowed catch. Larger fishing vessels can be away from home for a week or more. They have special freezers onboard to keep the seafood fresh. Once unloaded, some of the catch goes to auction. Seafood dealers, restauranteurs, buyers for supermarket chains, and others inspect the seafood to purchase what’s needed for their businesses and clients. These auctions happen when most of us are still asleep, and some occur entirely online. Fish and other seafood can also be sent to processing plants to be hand-packed or canned for shipment throughout the U.S. or to other countries. The seafood is then transported to various locations for resale. This is where the consumer comes in–that’s you. The next time you go to the grocery store to buy fish or sit down at a restaurant and order seafood, ask the person serving you, “is this fish caught locally?” If it is, you know it’s sustainably managed based on our rigorous fishery management process, which includes scientific monitoring and enforcement. It’s a process that keeps the marine environment healthy, fish populations thriving, and our seafood industry on the job. Your choice to buy U.S. caught seafood also strengthens our economy by supporting the many businesses that fisherman depend on, as well as seafood suppliers, retailers, and restaurants. [ music ] Justin Braun: Here at Waterfront Grille, everything on the plate can be found in the waters just off the coast, and we get a lot of the local fishermen that come in here and we have personal relationships with them. They come to our back door and they tell us, you know, “I got some great cod in this week. I got some great haddock that we found.” To have those relationships with them, it makes a huge impact on what we’re able to serve. And if the guests here taste that quality in the dishes, they spread the word and that’s gonna keep us in business. So it’s extremely important to us to get the freshest fish around. No matter where you are, if you’re in the Gulf, buy local shrimp. If you’re in the Northeast, buy local haddock, local cod or flounders or scallops in the Northeast, the same with lobster. I mean we have a really good fishery with good fresh fish. I mean, local is the way to go. We’re giving back to the community already just by buying our product locally. We’re supporting the same people that are coming in and supporting us back, and it creates a cycle there, a circle. In itself, that’s creating sustainability here. [ music ] Narrator: Get to know your U.S. seafood. Visit FishWatch.gov, where you can find easy to understand, science-based facts to help you make smart, sustainable seafood choices.