July 23rd, 2020 – Hallowell, Maine: The Maine Aquaculture Association welcomes the recent recommendations of the Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee (MAFAC) to the Secretary of Commerce to form a National Seafood Promotion Council. MAFAC is a federal advisory committee that advises the Secretary of Commerce on living marine resource matters. MAFAC members represent commercial, recreational, aquaculture, environmental, academic, state, tribal, and consumer seafood interests.
After a year of stakeholder interviews and researching agricultural and other types of marketing and promotional efforts, MAFAC issued its findings in a report titled, Establishing A National Seafood Promotion Council.
Key recommendations of the report include:
- The Council be industry-led with a clear mission to support the U.S. seafood community and conduct education, research, promotion, and marketing to increase U.S. seafood consumption and improve the health of the American people.
- Council efforts should complement and amplify marketing efforts by existing regional or species-specific commodity boards.
- The council should focus on U.S. seafood, including both wild-capture fisheries and aquaculture. It should seek to elevate a U.S. seafood “brand” broadly and highlight the diversity of seafood choices available to consumers.
- The council should be fully accountable and transparent and use clear metrics and regular external assessments to evaluate the efficacy of its marketing and educational efforts
Sebastian Belle, Executive Director of the Maine Aquaculture Association (MAA) helped lead the MAFAC initiative. Speaking for the MAA, Mr. Belle says, “the time is right for a national campaign to promote U.S. seafood. Over 80% of seafood consumed in this country is imported. American harvesters and farmers produce the highest quality seafood under the strictest regulations in the world. It is time to promote those domestic producers and a national seafood council would help do that.”
The Maine Aquaculture Association (est. 1978) is a non-profit trade association that advocates for Maine’s aquatic farmers (including shellfish, fin fish, & sea vegetable producers) at the state, federal, and international levels.