October is National Seafood Month

Fishing, in all its forms, is a $72 billion a year business in the United States, a business that the National Marine Fisheries Service reminds us is vital to the economies and identities of the nation’s coastal communities.

The economic activity generated by domestic fisheries and aquaculture creates nearly two million jobs, from harvesting to processing, seafood markets and restaurants. Yet American fishermen and local economies are struggling in large part as a result of years of decline nationally in fishing, and NMFS says that over 84 percent of the seafood consumed in the US is imported, contributing to a $9 billion annual seafood trade deficit.

The US Food and Drug Administration has suggested that people eat two-six-ounce servings- about the size of an iPhone – of seafood each week.

In celebration of National Seafood Month, the seaside town of Morro Bay, California, is holding its Redesigned Morro Bay Harbor Festival Oct. 3.

Brent Haugen, executive director of the Morro Bay Tourism Bureau, says ocean, fishing and seafood are very important to people who live and work and visit Morro Bay, a community where fresh, sustainable seafood is served all year round.

This year’s festivalgoers will be able to purchase fresh seafood from local fishermen. Options will include oysters, albacore and spot prawns from the Morro Bay Fishermen’s Association, rockfish and tacos from South Bay Wild, and assorted fish and fish chowder from the Central Coast Women for Fisheries.

The festival will also feature maritime-heritage venues, mini-yacht races, watercraft demonstrations and harbor boat tours.

More festival information and seafood recipes are online at www.morrobay.org.