August 24, 2017
Reporter Aaron Orlowski covered our recent paper in which we argued for new priorities in seafood policy that recognize the food system and public health. There is a need for better communication and collaboration between the public health/medical community and the fisheries communities and policymakers to bridge the gap between production and consumption. Co-author Patricia Pinto Da Silva says “You have to look beyond the landing dock and see how the fish we catch is connected to our markets, communities, local economies and public health.” Read more at Seafood Source.
Jenna Gallegos at the Washington Post updates us on the current status of AquaBounty, the maker of “AquaAdvantage,” a genetically engineered (GE) Atlantic salmon. The company recently purchased a recirculating aquaculture fish farm in Indiana and indicated plans to start selling GE salmon in 2019. Their GE fish is currently raised in Prince Edward Island, Canada, and five tons have been sold in Canada with optional labeling (i.e., it is left up to the grocery stores and other retailers to label or not label). A regulatory decision in Canada to allow production and not require labeling was a rubber stamp of earlier US FDA work. Don’t expect to see GE salmon in US supermarkets; US sales are not permitted under current policy due to pushback from politicians and environmental groups. Read more in the Washington Post.
The end of July brought a sigh of relief for those concerned with the Trump administration’s proposed budget cuts to NOAA. The Senate appropriations committee actually increased funding for many of the programs, including Sea Grant and coastal grants that were on the chopping block. Read more in an article by Cliff White at the Seafood Source and the Senate Appropriations Committee website.
In July, a bipartisan bill was introduced in Congress called the Protecting Honest Fishermen Act of 2017, which aims to reduce seafood fraud by expanding the monitoring program to include all species sold in the US, requiring full-chain traceability, allowing officials to refuse seafood imports in violation, and increasing tracking of seafood fraud perpetrators. Read more by Dan Flynn, Editor in Chief at the Food Safety News.
A new study found there was an association between consuming more seafood and decreased joint pain from rheumatoid arthritis. The research was an observational study in 176 people with rheumatoid arthritis; more controlled studies are needed to ascertain cause and effect. Read more by journalist Nicholas Bakalar at the New York Times.
Journalist Neil Ramsden discussed the future of recirculating aquaculture with experts at the AquaNor 2017 conference. Steve Summerfelt, director of the Freshwater Institute in West Virginia, notes that two projects in the US, in Florida and Wisconsin, will test new business models and technologies for recirculating aquaculture. Read more at Undercurrent News.
The recent purchase of Whole Foods by Amazon has some people wondering what the effects will be on seafood. Amazon already delivers grocery items, including perishable seafood and meats directly to customers, and having access to Whole Foods stores and supply chains could boost online grocery purchasing of seafood and other foods. Read more by journalist Christine Blank at the Seafood Source.