Eat Local Seafood!

Meghan Fox

SPECIFIC PURPOSE: To persuade my audience that buying local caught fish or catching your own is a way for fighting against foreign traders.

CENTRAL IDEA: Americans are eating a lot of foreign produced seafood and neglecting the fact that our wild fish has more nutritional value which could be staying within our borders.



Attention and interest: Who wants to eat some fish fed only pellets or raised in overcrowded pens with the labeled slapped on it, "fresh wild caught" with tiny letters at the bottom saying produced in China?


Reveal topic: Sorry for the one student who doesn't care about fish, according to the surveys you're going to have to hear one more speech about fish and how in today's world, we don't follow up on where our food comes from and that we are sending off our most nutritional wild fish in return for mostly farmed fish.


Credibility and Good Will: Being a fisheries student makes me open my eyes to what is happening within our fishing practices and I have read articles from Harvard, a book called American Catch by Paul Greenberg, an interview with Paul Greenberg, and some other interesting facts about our fisheries through NOAA, the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration.


Preview statement: I am going to talk about how so much of our fish in our supermarkets are from foreign countries and how if we just took the extra step in buying local or catching our own we are helping with the support of our American fisheries.

(transition: So why don't we start with knowing where our food comes from.)


I) Americans are usually not eating seafood caught from our waters.

A) Americans point of view is that they want cheap fast food so seafood gets cut.

(a) Other countries are willing to pay that extra buck to get that authentic taste of the ocean.

(i) As mentioned in an interview with author Paul Greenberg, he says how 95 percent of Americans are not interested in that taste of the ocean anymore and they have grown to be accustomed to the bland industrialized products that may be cheaper.

B) In my last speech on Mislabeling and distribution of fish you can see how receiving a fish that is not from our waters may be mislabeled as something else.

1)    A lot of the times when we receive seafood from out of the country it doesn't have a label on how it was caught.

(a) In some cases the fish that don't have proper identification could also be illegally caught and this means they are aiding in the overfishing of a specific species.

(b) When I was thinking about it, a lot of people don't know where their food comes from or they don't pay attention to that at all.

(i) They are used to buying off the shelf, unlike the old days when it was a family event to go out and barter for the different items of food at the local farmers market or in this case go fishing to sustain your families need for protein.

C) What doesn't make sense to me is that we import more fish than we export.

1)    NOAA or the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said that around 90 percent of the fish we eat is imported and most of it is caught by Americans that gets shipped overseas and reprocessed to be sent back to America.

(a) Hannah Lindoff from the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute stated that 79% of our wild caught Alaskan salmon is exported to China, Japan, and Europe.

(i)    The US is in the top three when it comes to seafood consumption and it doesn't make sense to be sending off so much of the fish that we catch in our waters that should be going to our plates.
*      From that interview with Paul Greenberg he says that we basically swap fish, but we swap our wild nutritious salmon for the fat farmed salmon pumped with antibiotics.

(b)  People may say that we have too many fishing fleets and we are overfishing, but a lot of the fleets that go out are not catching for America they have been bought up by other countries because they might  be offer more money.

(i)    In the book American Catch by Paul Greenberg it says from 1985 to 2005 that fish markets and fish mongers went from controlling 60% of US seafood trade to only controlling about 10% and supermarkets went from 16% to 80%.
*      Supermarkets are where we get more of the imported fish from the different countries and that's how we keep supporting the foreign trade of seafood.

D) We were driven to the industry that produced meat on land and strayed away from the ocean.

2)    Fish used to be more popular in the US, but when the population started growing they made more regulations because fisheries were declining.

(a) They moved from our waters inland to focus on clearing forests and letting cattle roam on wild grasslands to substitute for the missing piece in our diet for protein.

(i) In Paul Greenberg's book, American Catch he states that in 2015 Americans were only eating about 15 pounds of seafood a year compared with the 202 pounds of red meat and poultry.   

 (transition: There is hope though to make seafood great again and it starts now!)

II) Catching your own or buying local seafood is how we can eat sustainably and support the American catch.

A) There is a large crowd that only purchases things produced in America or the people who like to eat healthier.

1)    If people are more informed about how most of the fish they purchase is coming from China and is less in nutritional value they may change their minds.

(a) If we start to buy only local or catch your own fish, that's a start to fighting against the foreign trade of fish.

(i) From the surveys more than 60 percent of you have gone fishing and I encourage you to keep that up and practice in the ways of catching your own food.

2)    There are tons of health benefits that come from eating wild caught fish.

(a)  According to an article from the health department in Harvard if you were to consume at least one to two 3-ounces of fish a week this reduces your chance of dying from heart disease by 36%.

B) We have enough wild fish in our waters to keep to ourselves and if we stopped trading our wild catch then we would cut down on imports tremendously.

1)    Ecosystems could also have a comeback with fleets being forced to move elsewhere to harvest fish for other countries not in US waters.

C) If this still isn't enough for you to buy local or catch your own you can at least download this app called Seafood Watch that was made by the Monterey Bay Aquarium to fight the producers of unsustainable fishing.

1)    It's a free app and you can type in any fish and it will tell you if it is an okay purchase or if they should choose something else because it might have negative effects on ocean health.

(a) In the app their main focus is to ensure a consumer that they are purchasing something that has the least impact on the aquatic environment and to keep our seafood available for generations to come.


Signal the end: As I wrap up my last speech let me go over again what I have discussed.

Review main points: I told you how we are eating less and less of fish that are from our waters and more from out of country and how we can flip that and keep our more nutritional fish to ourselves.

Ending kicker: So after hearing about how you should eat local caught fish you can start right here in this classroom by taking some fish caught by yours truly at the grocery store.






Greenberg, Paul. American Catch: The Fight for Our Local Seafood. The Penguin Press, 2015.


Profita, Cassandra. "Exporting And Re-Importing Local Seafood?" Accessed November 30, 2017.


"Exporttrends.Pdf." Accessed November 30, 2017.

Boston, 677 Huntington Avenue, and Ma 02115 +1495‑1000. "Fish: Friend or Foe?" The Nutrition Source, September 18, 2012.


"LOCAL CATCH: And the Survey Says: Local Seafood Reigns : Coastwatch." Accessed November 30, 2017.


"Local Fish: The Challenges & Realities of Finding Sustainable Seafood." Fort Bragg Groundfish Assocation (blog), June 29, 2016.


Greenberg, Paul. "Opinion | Why Are We Importing Our Own Fish?" The New York Times, June 20, 2014, sec. Opinion.


"The Global Picture | FishWatch." Accessed November 30, 2017.


Greenberg, Paul. "The Great Fish Swap: How America Is Downgrading Its Seafood Supply." Accessed November 30, 2017.


Conniff, Richard. "Unsustainable Seafood: A New Crackdown on Illegal Fishing." Yale E360. Accessed November 30, 2017.


Adler, Lindsay. "Why Is Domestic Wild-Caught Seafood Better Than Imported Farm-Raised?" Accessed November 30, 2017.



Survey Results


Do you care about fish?

Everyone except for one person said that they cared about fish.


Have you gone out fishing before just to practice catch and release?

Three fourths of the class said that they have gone out and practiced catch and release.


Have you gone fishing and not needed to keep a fish, but you kept it anyway?

Surprisingly only people said that they kept fish when they didn't need to, but I think it is higher than that because I see people all the time catch fish that are probably just going to sit in the back of the freezer for a while. 


Do you know anything about Hawaiian or Native American beliefs about fishing practices and the fish themselves?

Around thirty percent of the class new something about the different fishing cultures.


How many times have you gone fishing?

0          5          10          30          100+

|---------|---------|----------|-----------|       It was split in half with a couple more not having gone fishing very much.    


How much would you say you know about the life cycle of a fish?

A lot          Moderate         Some          Very little          Nothing

|-------------------|---------------|-----------------|------------------|        There were clumps of people around each increment so we have a variety of people knowing different levels about fish life cycle.


How often do you not finish a plate with fish?

I don't touch it        Half is left        Some chunks       Little bits       All gone

|-------------------------|-------------------|------------------|----------------|       Around sixty percent of the class said that they left little bits or the plate was empty after they were done eating. The other half didn't touch fish at all or rarely did.  


How old do you think is the longest living fish is today?

The correct answer is 400 years old and surprisingly there were some people that either were on the money or a little off. One person guessed 400, one guessed 420, and five guessed 300. The other guesses started at having no clue all the way up to 5000 years old.