Seafood Consumption Nears Record Highs: NFI

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Overall seafood consumption in America was 16.5 pounds per person last year, up from 16.2 pounds in 2005, according to data compiled by NOAA Fisheries. Compared to six years ago, overall consumption has risen 11 percent from 14.8 pounds in 2001.

Shrimp and canned tuna continue to headline the list of the Top 10 most consumed seafood in the United States for 2006, according to the National Fisheries Institute (NFI) here.

NFI president John Connelly noted the progress, but pressed for more.

"Landmark studies from the Institute of Medicine and Harvard Medical School in 2006 found that eating fish twice a week can reduce the risk of dying from a heart attack by 36 percent," Connelly said. "The growth in seafood consumption last year shows that families seek its tremendous health benefits, yet only 20 percent of Americans are following advice from the federal government, American Heart Association and American Dietetic Association to eat fish at least twice a week."

Shrimp continued to lead seafood consumption, up 0.3 pounds per person to 4.4 pounds for the year. Tilapia, a mild-tasting white fish, moved up to the number five position in overall seafood consumption replacing catfish, which fell to the sixth position. Increases in shrimp, pollock, and tilapia consumption helped drive the overall increase. Fresh and frozen seafood consumption was a record 12.3 pounds per capita for 2006, and the total seafood consumed - 4.92 billion pounds edible weight - also set a record.

"With increased seafood consumption, our nation is moving in the right direction to combat heart disease and obesity-related illnesses," said Connelly. "But we must enhance awareness of the importance of eating a variety of seafood - such as canned tuna, salmon, mussels and many others - throughout the lifecycle."

Top 10 seafood varieties in 2006, by pounds per capita edible weight, were:
Canned Tuna

The list was compiled for the NFI by H.M. Johnson & Associates, publishers of the Annual Report on the United States Seafood Industry. Data for this list came from the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS).
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