Why Half of Edible Seafood Is Wasted

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Almost half of the edible seafood in the United States goes to waste as result of inefficiencies and consumer refuse, according to new research.

The study, published in the journal Global Environmental Change, suggests that consumers discard 1.3 billion pounds annually, fishers throw away 570 million pounds when they catch the wrong species and 330 pounds are lost during distribution. The total edible seafood supply is about 4.7 billion pounds per year.

U.S. dietary guidelines recommend that most Americans increase their seafood intake. The wasted fish contains enough protein to meet the requirements of more than 10 million people each year, according to the study.

“If we’re told to eat significantly more seafood but the supply is severely threatened, it is critical and urgent to reduce waste of seafood,” study leader David Love, a Johns Hopkins University researcher, said in a statement.

The news follows recent attention by the public and policymakers to the scale of food waste in the U.S. Last week, the federal government announced plans to cut food waste in half by 2030.

“Let’s feed people, not landfills,” EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said in a statement.

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Write to Justin Worland at justin.worland@time.com