For healthy, fresh seafood, farmers in South Carolina are looking less toward the coast and more toward the economically beneficial field of aquaculture.
Aquaculture is the farming of fish, shellfish and crustaceans in fresh or saltwater populations that are raised in controlled conditions. For South Carolina, this agriculture sector is one of the fastest growing industries in the state, feeding the demand for eating locally raised seafood.
Farmers produce a variety of seafood for local restaurants and consumers, including oysters, clams, blue crab, shrimp, inshore fish like snapper and grouper, and offshore fish like swordfish, mahi-mahi, wahoo and several types of tuna. Tilapia is also becoming a very popular fish for the table.
According to the South Carolina Seafood Alliance, Americans eat about sixteen pounds of seafood per person each year, but 91 percent of all seafood consumed in the country is imported from overseas. Aquaculture farmers in South Carolina are working to change that, for their state specifically, by raising a local, safe product and in turn, encouraging more jobs.
“The local, good-tasting, healthy, safe, nutritious protein in South Carolina seafood is much closer to your plate than seafood from China, Thailand, Indonesia or India,” says Frank Blum, executive director of the South Carolina Seafood Alliance. “Increased local production means more jobs and increased revenue through the magic of the economic multiplier. Catch and grow it here. Bring fresher seafood, more jobs and more money to South Carolina.”