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This may be bad news indeed for the seafood industry. A new report released by the American Academy of Pediatrics has found that children in the US don't eat enough fish, as they get more than 90 of their dietary protein from non-fish sources, especially red meat and chicken. The industry perhaps has to do PR or information campaigns that focus on fears of parents who avoid feeding their children some fish mainly due to methylmercury (MeHg) pollution.

Children's intake of fish in US 'not enough'

The seafood industry has much catching up to do in drawing American kids to eat fish and shellfish other than other sources of protein.

A new report released by the American Academy of Pediatrics has found that children in the US don't eat enough fish, as they get more than 90 of their dietary protein from non-fish sources, especially red meat and chicken.

The report, titled "Fish, Shellfish, and Children's Health: An Assessment of Benefits, Risks, and Sustainability", said that despite the health benefits of fish and shellfish, many parents avoid feeding their children some fish mainly because of methylmercury (MeHg) pollution.

The report found seafood consumption by children has declined every year since 2007 to levels not seen since the early 1980s.

Fish and shellfish are good sources of low-fat protein rich in several essential vitamins and minerals, as well as, in certain instances, the essential nutrients omega-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 LCPUFAs). 

Childhood fish consumption has been associated with prevention of allergic disorders.

Fears not without basis

Parents' fears of MeHg pollution are not without basis. Most of the mercury found in humans comes from contaminated fish.

The study cited available evidence indicating that prenatal and, to a lesser extent in most cases, postnatal mercury exposure has been associated with decrements in memory, attention, language, IQ and visual-motor skills in childhood.

Besides mercury, several other pollutants commonly found in fish and shellfish have likewise raised concern for their detrimental health effects.

Most fish, however, have favorable nutritional and overall health qualities compared with other forms of animal protein, according to the report.

The report cited evidence-based expert guidance that largely advise seafood should have a larger place in the American diet. It quoted the recent scientific report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee: "The Committee concurs with the Joint WHO/FAO Consultancy that, for the majority of commercial wild and farmed species, neither the risks of mercury nor organic pollutants outweigh the health benefits of seafood consumption, such as decreased cardiovascular disease risk and improved infant neurodevelopment".

However, it pointed out that any assessment evaluates evidence within a time frame and so, contaminant composition can change rapidly based on the contamination conditions at the location of wild catch and altered production practices for farmed seafood.

The report itself recommends that further research is needed to clarify the value of fish and shellfish consumption in childhood to health since "available research to substantiate specific health benefits from fish and shellfish consumption in children remains limited". 


China world's largest aquatic product exporter

China remains as the world's largest exporter of aquatic products for 17 consecutive years now, the country's agriculture minister said, according to state news agency Xinhua.

Aquatic product exports have exceeded US$20 billion, even as the output of aquatic products also remains as the world's largest for 30 straight years and accounts for over 40% of the world's total, Han Changfu, minister of agriculture and rural affairs, told a symposium.

Han urged more efforts to regulate the conservation of fishery resources, crack down on illegal fishing and strengthen aquaculture monitoring to ensure aquatic product safety.

With its vast water area, China has aquatic products that are of great variety, large quantity and high exploitative value.

The country's aquatic products include fish, crustaceans, mollusks, algae and mammals. 


Farmed salmon in Norway at peril

Algae bloom in northern Norway is putting more farmed salmon at risk after killing some 11,600 tonnes of the fish, the Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries said, according to a Xinhua report.

The loss accumulating from the death of the 11,600 tonnes of farmed salmon in the northern counties of Nordland and Troms is estimated at 720 million kroner (US$82.04 million).

The directorate could not determine the total number of dead fish mainly because the breeders did not have the "capacity and overview to say the numbers" and the weight of the fish varied from 700 grammes to 5.5 kilogrammes.

As per the Xinhua report, the algae could stick to the gills of the fish and choke them, and while wild salmon can swim away from the algae, the farmed salmon in the offshore pens are trapped.

The directorate warned that the algae bloom in northern Norway was not yet over, thus posing as a risk to the other fishes.

Breeders have been on alert, the report said.

12 entry lines from Mexico and UAE in May…

In May, the US refused 12 entry lines of shrimp imports for reasons related to banned antibiotics, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said, according to the Southern Shrimp Alliance (SSA).

The number represents 13.6% of the 88 total seafood entry line refusals for las monh.

In the five months through May, the FDA refused a total of 44 entry lines of shrimp due to veterinary drug residues. compared with 53 all of last year (and 55 in all of 2017). As shown in the table below, the number of shrimp entry line refusals this year exceeds the annual refusals by the FDA from 2002 to 2006.

The 12 shrimp entry lines refused in May were from two different exporters in Mexico (one entry line) and the United Arab Emirates (11 entry lines).

Meanwhile, the FDA reported that it refused two entry lines of shrimp from Bangladesh and India for the presence of salmonella in April and another entry line of shrimp from Vietnam for salmonella in May.
…1 in April from UAE

Only one of the 88 seafood entry lines refused in April by the US was of shrimp for reasons related to banned antibiotics. 

The sole shrimp entry line refused for veterinary drug residues was from the United Arab Emirates, the Southern Shrimp Alliance (SSA) reported.

As per SSA, the UAE-based Freshly Frozen Foods had one entry line refused for shrimp contaminated with nitrofurans on April 10. Nitrofuran is a drug used to inhibit bacterial growth.

After refusing 26 Indian shrimp entry lines in January due to the presence of banned antibiotics, the FDA reported refusing only six shrimp entry lines for the same reasons over the last three months. In February, no shrimp entry line refusal for reasons related to banned antibiotics was registered.

The table below summarises shrimp entry line refusals for reasons related to veterinary drug residues from 2002 through April 2019.
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