Stoll to lead first national assessment of seafood marketing practices
Lead investigator Josh Stoll is launching the first-ever national assessment of seafood marketing practices in the United States. The assessment is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and NOAA Fisheries. The American Seafood Harvesters Marketing Practices Survey aims to bring attention to the role that seafood harvesters play in the nation’s food systems and, eventually, inform future investments in the sector.
The survey being released in March 2023 is designed for any seafood harvester or business in the U.S. that participates in a state or federal commercial fishery and sells at least a portion of their catch directly to consumers, restaurants or institutions, or sells to dealers who identify them as the harvester. The survey, which is being mailed to 6,600 harvesters, follows an initial round of research that was conducted in 2021 and showed that 11% of all seafood harvesters in the United States directly market their catch.
While the commercial fishing sector in the U.S. is critically important to the economy, food security and cultural identity of many coastal communities, seafood often remains poorly integrated into efforts to strengthen local and domestic food systems. One reason for this is that, in contrast to the agricultural sector, there isn’t data on how seafood harvesters market their catch and therefore it is an invisible part of the food system.
“We often talk about how important data are for fisheries conservation and management. Data are also important for describing our nation’s food systems and ensuring that seafood is part of the discussion,” says Stoll, UMaine assistant professor of marine policy and Mitchell Center Faculty Fellow.