Opinion: To create sustainable seafood industries, the United States needs a better accounting of imports and exports

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May 06, 2019
Jessica A. Gephart, Halley E. Froehlich, and Trevor A. Branch



Global seafood trade nearly doubled in recent decades, fueled by decreasing transportation costs, advances in preservation and processing technologies, and open trade policies and is now among the most highly traded commodities (1). The United States is currently the world’s top seafood importer and among the top five exporters (2). It is often quoted that 90% of seafood consumed in the United States is imported, implying only 10% is of domestic origin. Over the past decade, this statistic has been widely shared and highlighted with more than 60 news articles quoting it annually since 2014 (SI Appendix, Fig. S1), and it is increasingly used to support proposed policy changes. In recent years, the former US Secretary of State, current US Secretary of Commerce, and members of Congress have all cited the number to call for new policy measures addressing seafood sustainability and dependence on foreign seafood.

Read the article in PNAS.

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