Educating the public
USSIA's long-term public education connects with seafood consumers to proudly share the facts about America's responsible, sustainable seafood harvests.
With all of the misinformation directed at the public, it’s easy to see why many consumers don’t look too kindly at the U.S. seafood industry. Reaching out, connecting with, and educating these consumers is our most important job.
The misinformation campaigns have had their intended result: seafood consumers falsely believe one or more of the many myths about our industry, including:
- MYTH: Seafood harvests are uncontrolled, irresponsible and have caused great damage to the marine ecosystem including many endangered and other protected species.
- MYTH: Seafood is dangerous to eat due to environmental toxins such as heavy metals.
- MYTH: Seafood is often handled improperly in the supply chain, causing dangerous bacterial and parasitical infections.
- MYTH: Seafood is often fraudulently mislabeled and sold.
- MYTH: Seafood is an industry for a bygone era, hopelessly on the decline, that contributes little to American employment or the economy.
As we know, all of those beliefs – especially when applied to U.S. seafood harvests – are false. But how can we do everything possible to consistently deliver this message to the public?
Much of the problem stems from a lack of a consistent, long-term campaign of public education. When consumers only hear one side (the myths), how can we really expect them to know the truth? While some parts of the industry have been effective in delivering public education, many have not. Even in those parts where education has been made a priority, campaigns are often limited in time or scope. USSIA builds on the programs that have been shown to work and promotes them across the country, and even internationally, to really make a difference in showing why choosing U.S. harvested seafood is the smartest choice as a source of protein and nutrition.
USSIA takes a new multipronged approach to educating the public. Key to the success our approach is that it is a long-term, sustained educational effort. Our public education has just begun, and it will never end.
- USSIA educates the public about the benefits that our industry brings to America, in terms of jobs and economic activity.
- USSIA explains the complicated terms of fishery management, sustainability, and our responsible practices – in comparison to those of some importing nations – in a clear, understandable way. It is easy to lose the public if you get too technical, or give them too much information at once. Those spreading the myths know this very well. Our approach is specifically designed to counter this.
- USSIA makes the public aware that U.S. harvested seafood is special, held to the highest standards of food quality and managed under the highest regulations on the planet.
- USSIA promotes the health benefits of a diet rich in U.S. harvested seafood, including U.S. ranched seafood.
- USSIA forges alliances with other organizations, including state and federal educational authorities, health and nutrition organizations, and local food promotional groups to help us expand our audience, and tailor our message to their followers.
- USSIA’s efforts encompass a variety of media, from brochures for our members use, to social media and viral marketing. Different segments of the public gather their information from many different sources so it is critical to cover the bases.
Our upcoming consumer education website, www.usseafood.org, will be all about consumers and will highlight and feature our members, their businesses and communities, and the many ways that our industry benefits America.
In combination with our approaches to fostering a seafood certification brand, increasing consumption of U.S. harvested seafood, and countering the misinformation that persists, our approach to public education has a real, lasting impact.