As the coronavirus pandemic ravages the meatpacking sector, the Trump administration late last week made a major announcement about another essential food industry: seafood. With a late-afternoon executive order, the administration laid out a pathway for the approval of ocean aquaculture in federal waters, a controversial departure from existing policy that could reshape the country’s seafood production.(No paywall)
Saying he wants to expand U.S. seafood production, President Trump signed an executive order on Thursday to streamline federal review and approval of aquaculture sites. Meanwhile, the Commerce Department announced $300 million in coronavirus relief funds for the seafood industry. (No paywall)
Americans eat only a small number of sea creatures of seafood—namely salmon, shrimp and tilapia. But the world’s warming oceans are shifting undersea ecosystems in a way that will force us to expand our minds and palates, reports Ben Goldfarb in FERN's latest story, published with EatingWell.(No paywall)
The Senate is in recess so it will be another week before cattle farmer Cindy Hyde-Smith, a veteran of state politics, formally succeeds Thad Cochran as U.S. senator from Mississippi. She already has a Republican challenger in the November special election to serve the final two years of Cochran's term, and had a get-acquainted meeting with top White House officials last week.
After spending $40 million over 35 years, a California plan to restore wild stocks of white seabass has failed to produce much in the way of results, according to a study released this week. “The program had increased white seabass populations by less than 1 percent — a stunningly low success rate,” Clare Leschin-Hoar reports in FERN’s latest story, with NPR. (No paywall)
Farmers in Vietnam's southernmost province, Ca Mau, in the Mekong River delta, intentionally pierced four dikes erected against saltwater encroachment so they can convert rice paddies to seafood ponds. It was an illegal move, "but we just want to breed prawns to escape poverty," farmer Nguyen Thi Bi told Xinhua news agency as she stood on the edge of a newly created aquaculture pond.
"Pervasive human trafficking" helped propel Thailand to the top tier of shrimp exporters, says an Associated Press investigation. The AP says that despite promises by government and business to clean up the seafood export industry, "shrimp peeled by modern-day slaves is reaching the United States, Europe and Asia."
The United States imported $19 billion worth of seafood last year, more than nine times the value of the domestic catch that is consumed at home, writes Deborah Zabarenko in a story at Medium. Only 1-2 percent is inspected by FDA and the rejection rate was 0.33 percent in 2012. According to the seafood industry and government officials, the inspection net falls much wider, covering as much as 40 percent of imports.
In a spot check, the conservation group Oceana found 30 percent of the 143 shrimp products that it tested were misrepresented. The group purchased the items from 111 grocery stores and restaurants in four regions.