Agriculture Press Release

September 9, 1999

October Is Florida Seafood And Aquaculture Month

TALLAHASSEE The most striking thing about Florida from Pensacola to Key Largo is that seafood plays an unmistakable role. Its no wonder, in a state where no spot is more than 60 miles from the vast coastline. Florida seafood encompasses many varieties, from clams and Key West pink shrimp to spiny lobster and mahi-mahi, to name just a few. Octobers status as "National Seafood Month" is all the more reason to recognize the value of seafood to all Americans and to enjoy the taste, variety and benefits.

"During October, tribute will be made to Floridas seafood and aquaculture industry, recognizing the significant impact this industry has on the states economy," Florida Agriculture Commissioner Bob Crawford said. "The spotlight on Seafood and Aquaculture Month is also an opportunity for the consumer to learn more about the industry and enjoy the fruits of its labor."

Floridas commercial fishers harvested 120 million pounds of fish and shellfish in 1998, yielding annual seafood landings worth more than $200 million at dockside, and contributing $400 million annually for at-home consumption sales. Florida is also a major processing state. Every year more than 500 seafood processing plants produce several hundred million dollars worth of value-added products. In addition, restaurant and retail seafood sales amount to approximately $1 billion annually.

"Seafood also plays an important role in our health. Research suggests that eating seafood twice a week can play a preventative role against heart disease," Crawford said.

Contributing to good health, seafood contains omega-3 fatty acids, a nutrient we should eat more of, according to health experts. Generally low in fat, sodium and cholesterol, seafood is linked to all kinds of health benefits, from warding off heart attacks to easing arthritis pain.

With seafood, the possibilities are endless for healthful eating at the same time adding variety and great taste to everyday meals. Helping ourselves to seafood is helping ourselves to good health. However, helping ourselves to seafood is the hardest part of this equation. Many consumers are afraid to cook seafood at home, and most would agree that beef and chicken are easier to prepare, and more accessible at the retail level. Help has arrived as the industry is experiencing a new trend. Retailers are providing some form of self-service seafood and supplying recipe ideas with seafood packaging. Additionally, many popular restaurant chains have jumped on the bandwagon by providing an enhanced selection of seafood entrees.

As part of Octobers Seafood and Aquaculture Month, a resolution, signed by Gov. Jeb Bush and the Cabinet, emphasizes this essential and rapidly growing part of Floridas diverse economy. The industry provides the state with 45,000 jobs, from fishing and farming to retail and restaurant sales.

To obtain more industry information, discover delicious and nutritious recipes, and find tips on buying and preparing seafood, access the Florida Bureau of Seafood and Aquacultures website at www.fl-seafood.com or send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to 2051 East Dirac Drive, Tallahassee, FL 32310.

Editors: Please send a tearsheet of your published article to: Terrie Glover, Bureau of Seafood and Aquaculture, 2051 East Dirac Drive, Tallahassee, FL 32310-3760.


For more information:

Terrie Glover
(850) 488-0163

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