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Get to Know Your Seafood From Ocean to Plate

5 minutes

[bell dings]

(male narrator) Seafood is important for a healthy diet. But do you know where your seafood comes from? Think about this next time you choose seafood. The United States is a global leader in responsibly managed fisheries and sustainable seafood, so when you buy U.S. seafood, you're not only making a healthy choice, you're making a sustainable choice.

Our fisheries are some of the world's largest and most valuable. In fact, the U.S. approach to managing fisheries has become an international model for addressing the challenges facing global ocean fisheries today. We have some of the strictest regulations in the world, in the United States. I think we have a good product because of our regulations. And sustainability is very important, not only for the fish, but the fishermen.

(narrator) Jim Ford and other U.S. commercial fishermen work hard to bring fresh, responsibly harvested seafood from the ocean to your plate. I'm very proud of what we catch. Our stuff's fresh and taken care of. Our stuff gets trucked to the dealer right away. Usually, our stuff is within 15 hours from being at the dealer, ready to cut.

(narrator) So how does U.S. seafood get to your plate? Commercial fishermen running day boats leave port before sunrise. They travel to their favorite fishing grounds and work long hours on the water. Late in the day, they return home with their daily allowed catch. Larger fishing vessels can be away for a week or more. They have freezers onboard to keep the seafood fresh. Once unloaded, some of the catch goes to auction. Seafood dealers, restaurateurs, buyers for supermarket chains, and others inspect the seafood to purchase what's needed for their businesses and clients. These auctions happen when most are still asleep, and some occur entirely online. Fish and other seafood can also be sent to processing plants to be hand-packed or canned for shipment within the U.S. or to other countries. The seafood is then transported to various locations for resale. This is where the consumer comes in--that's you. The next time you buy fish at the grocery store or order seafood at a restaurant, ask the server, "Is this fish caught locally?" If it is, you know it's sustainably managed, based on our rigorous fishery management process, which includes scientific monitoring and enforcement. It's a process that keeps the marine environment healthy, fish populations thriving, and our seafood industry on the job. Your choice to buy U.S. caught seafood also strengthens our economy by supporting the many businesses that fishermen depend on, as well as seafood suppliers, retailers, and restaurants.

(man) Here at Waterfront Grille, everything on the plate is from the coastal water. A lot of local fishermen come in here. They come and say, "I got great cod, some great haddock." To have those relationships with them makes a huge impact on what we serve. If the guests taste the quality, they spread the word, keeping us in business. It's important to get the freshest fish. In the Gulf, buy local shrimp. In the Northeast, buy local haddock, cod, flounders, or scallops in the Northeast. The same with lobster. Our fishery has good fresh fish. Local is the way to go. We give back to the community by buying local product. We support the people that come in and support us. It creates a cycle, creating sustainability here.

(narrator) Get to know your U.S. seafood. Visit, where you can find easy-to-understand science-based facts to help you make smart, sustainable seafood choices. Accessibility provided by the U.S. Department of Education.

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How does seafood get from the ocean to the plate? This video shows the journey U.S. seafood makes to get to the tables of hungry seafood lovers. Viewers are also given tips for making sustainable food choices.

Media Details

Runtime: 5 minutes

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