Human demand for seafood is rising, but the world ocean can only provide a limited share of what we consume. Over the last 50 years, the average annual growth in seafood production exceeded that of all other types of terrestrial animal production. In 2018, global seafood production was estimated at an all-time high of 178.8 million metric tons, with farmed seafood representing nearly half of the total of all seafood produced.
With capture fisheries production nearly stagnant, aquaculture has been rapidly expanding to meet the needs of a growing population. A new report includes findings from a survey of Connecticut residents about their seafood related consumption, knowledge, behaviors and preferences.
The purpose of the study was to collect data to inform the development of public engagement programs on Connecticut wild and farmed seafood industries and seafood products. Further, the study generated new data useful to seafood producers on consumer willingness to pay for locally farmed products. The report is available at seagrant.uconn.edu.
If you’re an average Connecticut resident, you probably didn’t eat seafood more than once in the last week.
But you might, if you knew more about how to prepare different types of fish, shellfish and seaweed, and where to buy local seafood. You’d also be inclined to have seafood more often if you knew more about its safety.
Those are some of the key findings of the Connecticut Seafood Survey, a 2½-year project to better understand current eating habits and how best to make of all types of seafood – but especially the shellfish, seaweed and fish from local waters – a more frequent part of state residents’ diets. Half the residents surveyed said they eat seafood just once a week – which is out of sync with the Food & Drug Administration’s recommendations. The FDA says adults should eat two or more servings per week to get all the nutritional benefits their bodies need.
After tasting rice pilaf with carrots, peppers and kelp, grilled shrimp wrapped in kelp leaves, baked salmon topped with leeks and kelp and manicotti stuffed with mushrooms and kelp, restaurant owner Chris Szewczyk is eager to incorporate the Connecticut-grown seaweed into his menu.
“It’s an exciting product,” said Szewczyk, owner of Taino Smokehouse in Middletown.
Standing nearby in the kitchen of the Sheraton Hartford South in Rocky Hill was Lydell Carter, sous-chef at the hotel restaurant. Between forkfuls of the various dishes, Carter said he, too, is a convert to the possibilities of cooking with kelp.
“I definitely see it’s very versatile,” he said. “I really liked it with the shrimp. I like the flavor profile and the texture.”