The average American consumed 15.5 pounds of seafood last year, nearly a pound more than in 2014, according to a new government report.
Average fish consumption has fluctuated in recent decades, but the jump represents the most significant year-over-year increase in more than a quarter century. Researchers attributed the increase at least in part to a spike in consumption of canned fish products, particularly salmon.
The research, conducted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), reports that in total U.S. fishermen brought 9.7 billion pounds of seafood with a value of more than $5 billion to shore last year.
An increase in fish consumption should be encouraging to public health experts who have called on Americans to consume more seafood. The most recent dietary guidelines issued by the U.S. government recommend that adults consume 8 or more ounces of seafood each week (equivalent to 26 pounds annually).
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At the same time, fisheries will face a number of challenges—from overfishing to climate change—in the coming decades that researchers have suggested could lead many marine fisheries to disappear within a few decades. Researchers say that oversight and carefully constructed management plans could help prevent that decline—and perhaps even lead to an increase in fish production. NOAA has implemented management and rehabilitation plans in areas it oversees.