Back in the ‘80s there used to be a National Fish and Seafood Promotional Council. You can still find cute ads with fish in party hats, old school seafood salad recipes and even a newsletter called “The Spokesfish”. The original council was set to run until 1991.
With a new burst of motivation, on September 29th 2022, Senators Wicker (R-MS) and Cardin (D-MD) introduced the Seafood Marketing Act of 2022, a bill that would re-establish the National Seafood Council, which would oversee research, education, and marketing of seafood for the public health benefits for Americans. Yes!
This time around, the proposed National Seafood Council would be funded by the government at $25 million per year for five years (until 2027) – and supported by NOAA (National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration) in order to create marketing campaigns designed to encourage Americans to eat more seafood consistently. After 5 years the seafood industry stakeholders (companies big and small like Premier Catch) would have the option to take over the ownership and funding in order to keep encouraging Americans to eat more seafood. The language is also written to include all seafood, not just fish, as well as seaweed.
Just for some relativity, the Cattlemen’s Beef Board invested approximately $38.9 million into programs of beef promotion, research, consumer information, industry information, foreign marketing, and producer communications for 2022.
The Seafood Marketing Act bill now heads to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation for a vote. Next would be a full Senate vote, passage of a companion bill in the House, and finally signage by the President. Whew!
I (Ashley) personally sit on the National Seafood Task Force established through the Seafood Nutrition Partnership. It is composed of individuals brought together from the seafood industry at all points - from fishing to retail - and nutrition specialists like me, in order to motivate Americans to eat more seafood. As we begin to confront food challenges associated with climate change, it’s imperative to note that seafood is one of the most carbon-efficient foods on the planet! It is an important source of protein and other nutrients, and is a vital contributor to brain development and healthy immune, skeletal, and cardiovascular systems. These benefits are especially pronounced among new mothers, babies, seniors, and adults at risk for heart disease.
You can follow the science of seafood through the Seafood Nutrition Partnership here.
And if you have any good slogans to compete with beef and pork, you let me know!