When we consider autumnal foods and beverages, we often think about Pumpkin Spice lattes, and who doesn’t love a tiny Halloween Snickers bar? But there is another type of food we should all be celebrating: Seafood! October is National Seafood Month, which means paying homage to one of our nation’s oldest industries. Here are seven ways you can participate:
• Eat or serve seafood at least twice weekly. Seafood is a great source of healthy lean protein, rich in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins and minerals, and proven to support heart and brain health.
• Partake in a local seafood festival. Communities across the nation celebrate and support the hard-working men and women who put this delicious staple on our tables.
• Shop for seafood that is fresh and in season. October is a prime month for seafood with many varieties in season. Prices are generally lower than during nonseasonal times of the year and you will nearly always be guaranteed a fresh and high-quality product.
• Try a new type of seafood. If you enjoy clams, purchase mussels. Fresh fish is delicious, but so is smoked and cured fish. Fire up the grill and invite friends and family to bring something adventurous to cook and share.
• Try a new recipe. There are so many ways to prepare seafood, and while grilling, baking, and pan-frying are popular, soups or stews are equally savory. One member of our staff enjoys serving salmon with grilled peaches. Mix it up and add variety.
• Shop at a local fish market. If you have a fish market in your area, count yourself fortunate and get to know your fishmonger. He or she will be very knowledgeable about what’s in season, how to prepare different types of seafood, and how much to purchase per serving. If you don’t have a fish market, most local grocers have a fish counter with experienced and knowledgeable staff.
• Offer thanks. If you know someone who works at sea or processes seafood, thank them for their hard work.
It is estimated that each year more than 250,000 people work in the $60 billion seafood industry in the U.S. October is a seasonably prolific month, giving us king salmon, halibut, sablefish, pollock, sole, crab, shrimp, oysters, scallops, lobster, mussels, flounder, and trout just to name a few. More than 60% of our seafood is harvested in Alaska, and the seafood industry is Alaska’s largest employer.
Americans consume about 16 pounds of seafood per person per year compared to the Japanese who eat an average of 146 pounds of seafood per person per year. In Iceland, the average is about 200 pounds.
U.S. fishermen harvest seafood under some of the strictest sustainability guidelines in the world. With a focus on conservation of fish stocks, permits, licenses, and quotas, U.S. wild seafood is a responsible and healthful choice. Under the watchful eye of NOAA, the objective is to allow fishermen to harvest seafood for consumers while leaving enough in the ocean to reproduce and provide seafood in perpetuity. Enjoy October Seafood Month!