After several rounds of stakeholder input and a public comment period that took place earlier this year, NOAA Fisheries has released its first-ever National Seafood Strategy.
The strategy, which was released in early August, ties in with NOAA’s stated commitment to seafood sector resilience, and also aligns with the Biden-Harris Administration’s goals for economic recovery, environmental sustainability, and climate resilience.
Additionally, the strategy aims to address the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health’s pointing to the need for increased seafood consumption in the United States. Plus, it responds to multiple challenges facing the U.S. seafood industry, including climate change, new technologies, labor shortages and aging infrastructure.
The National Seafood Strategy outlines NOAA Fisheries’ direction for supporting the domestic U.S. seafood economy and describes an approach to enhancing the resilience of the seafood sector in the face of climate change and other stressors.
NOAA has said it’s vision is to ensure that:
- U.S. seafood continues to be produced sustainably.
- The U.S. seafood sector contributes to the nation’s climate-ready food production and to meeting critical domestic nutritional needs.
- American seafood production increases to support jobs, the economy and the competitiveness of the U.S. seafood sector.
- Supply chains and infrastructure are modernized with more value-added activity in the United States.
- Opportunities are expanded for a diverse and growing seafood workforce.
Additionally, NOAA has said that it plans to focus on four goals:
- Maintaining or increase sustainable U.S. wild capture production.
- Increasing sustainable U.S. aquaculture production.
- Fostering access to domestic and global markets for the U.S. seafood industry.
- Strengthening the entire U.S. seafood sector.
NOAA said that it received more than 150 public comments on the matter, about a quarter of which were from organizations, including fishing, aquaculture and seafood associations, non-profits, NGOs, aquariums and state agencies.
In addition, five regional fishery management councils provided comment letters, according to NOAA, which added that many of the comments were used “to strengthen and improve the strategy, particularly to clarify phrases or context, such as adding descriptions of other agency strategies and policies.”
NOAA has said that the National Seafood Strategy “will reinforce NOAA Fisheries’ critical science and management support to the seafood sector,” and that the industry needs NOAA Fisheries and other federal agencies to provide more support for and attention to adxaptation to climate change, changing markets, and new ocean uses; new domestic sources of seafood supply; fair trade; workforce development; and recapitalizing and modernizing seafood infrastructure.
An implementation plan for the strategy is currently being developed by an internal working group comprising staff from headquarters, regional offices and science centers, according to NOAA Fisheries.
“The strategy highlights the vital services we provide to support the seafood sector and outlines ways we can enhance its resilience in the face of climate change and other stressors,” NOAA explained in a statement.
An eight-page PDF outlining the strategy’s elements can be seen at and downloaded from the NOAA Fisheries website: https://tinyurl.com/4jxv65n7.