For most seafood lovers, it’s all about taste. But few are aware of the amazing health benefits of eating fresh seafood, especially locally caught. A brand-new initiative is breaking down just how beneficial it is to add more fresh seafood to our diets. 

“The Science Behind Your Local Seafood” is a campaign dedicated to sharing the facts about our nation’s rich and ever-expanding seafood industry. While it’s no secret just how great a role seafood plays in feeding our friends, family, and neighbors, there is more to seafood than just being a tasty treat. Science has shown just how good eating seafood is for our bodies — and it is this science that lies at the heart of the initiative.

“This campaign is much more than simply celebrating our local seafood—it’s about the many health benefits supported by science,” says Maureen Donald, a National Fisherman contributor and creator of the campaign. “While it’s natural to focus on taste and appearance, there’s so much more to choosing what’s on your plate.”

Many consumers likely have a basic understanding of the benefits of eating seafood, and this campaign is dedicated to sharing the details that often go unheard — even in communities where seafood plays an integral part in people’s diets and livelihoods. 

For example, eating fish and other seafoods regularly can decrease the risk of cardiovascular death by roughly 17 percent as has been documented in the Journal of American Medicine. People with higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids in their blood (the same acids provided by seafood) have their lifespans extended by over two years.

All this information can be found on which is the online centerpiece of the initiative. The website provides a convenient hub for all of the campaign’s research, bringing the facts to you in just a few clicks. Whether you want to glance it over or take a deep dive into the issues covered by the campaign, the site can provide for all who visit it.

The Science Behind Your Local Seafood was organized for two primary reasons. The first was to provide a resource that explained the long and short-term benefits of eating seafood, with information backed by well-respected health professionals. It seeks to sell those wary about fish on the idea of welcoming it into their diets through the power of science. 

The second reason, however, was to draw attention to a pressing issue that poses a threat to the seafood industry in America — imported seafood.

According to the Berkeley School of Public Health, around 85 percent of all seafood consumed by Americans is imported from foreign countries. Most of that imported fish is farm-raised in the growing aquaculture industry. While farming seafood seems like a good idea, the issue lies in how different the regulations for raising aquatic produce are in those foreign nations.

 Some have lower standards of health for their fish, while others employ the use of drugs that are banned here in the U.S. To raise alarms even more, the Berkeley School also discovered that most of the seafood brought into America is unsupervised by the Food and Drug Administration. That means that seafood contaminated by drugs and bacteria can make it past our federal regulations and into our kitchens and fish markets

When your fish is prepared by our nation’s fishing communities, you can rest assured that it will follow all appropriate regulations and standards while retaining its fantastic taste. After all, the same people preparing your meal will likely be eating some of it themselves later. This is not something you can take solace in when consuming imported fish. The question is, how can someone tell the difference between locally caught fish and imported fish to begin with?

“Consumers are definitely becoming more savvy when it comes to their diets,” said Donald. “Seafood in particular poses challenges — is it imported, is it fresh, is it handled in a sanitary facility? Understanding what to look for when purchasing seafood is key to gleaning all the benefits of a nutrient-rich diet.”

You need to know what is in your food, where it came from, how was it produced, whether its producers are reputable. This is a lot of information to keep track of, but this is where The Science Behind Your Local Seafood can help.

A few facts about seafood emphasized by the campaign are pivotal details

The American Psychiatric Association found that those who eat fish regularly are almost 20 percent less likely to develop depression. This is all likely thanks to the omega-3 fatty acids rich in fish. Omega-3 acids are so instrumental in aiding the mind that APA actually recommends their consumption to help treat those who suffer from depression and other related afflictions.

Seafood can even expand your intelligence—if you are still growing, that is. A scientific review headed by thirteen leading dietary professionals discovered that seafood has a profound effect on the brain development of infant and adolescent children. The study made many remarkable findings, including one particularly fascinating detail: mothers who eat seafood during their pregnancy increase the IQ of their offspring by an average of 7.7 points. In some cases, the IQ gain was as significant as 9.5 points. 

Seafood does wonders for our cardiovascular health as well. According to The New England Journal of Medicine, the popularly known “Mediterranean” diet drastically improves the health of the body’s most important muscle: the heart. 

The diet relies on a significant intake of fish; along with nuts, olive oil, poultry, fruits, and vegetables. In one study subjects who went on a Mediterranean diet had their risk of cardiovascular disease reduced by a staggering 30 percent. This is a testament to the dramatic and life-changing effects a healthy diet can have on your body — and yet another bullet point on the long list of benefits to basing your diet on seafood.

When you take a bite of seafood, you take a bite of not only something scrumptious, but a bite of something nutritious and filling. You take a bite of something that works with your body to strengthen your muscles and expand your mind.

The essence of locally caught seafood is not just in its factual goodness or in its qualities backed by years of scientific research. Your local seafood is so amazing because it is just that — local. 

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Maureen Donald is a freelance correspondent for National Fisherman.

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