Isn’t every month seafood month in New Orleans? Maybe so, but the rest of the country apparently needs a National Seafood Month to be reminded to chow down on food from the sea.

In New Orleans, the month will be marked with a six-course Tuna Fête on Oct. 25 at Carrollton Market restaurant. The dinner will star Gulf of Mexico yellowfin tuna. Dinner with wine pairings is $150 per person, $100 without wine. Tax and gratuity included.

The dinner, in partnership with the Audubon Nature Institute’s Gulf United for Lasting Fisheries, is part of an effort to encourage not only seafood consumption, but the eating of locally sourced seafood.

“National Seafood Month is very much about educating people about Gulf of Mexico seafood and why it’s important to support Gulf of Mexico seafood,” said John Fallon, assistant director of the GULF program.

Shrimp, which are so plentiful in local waters, are the No. 1 imported seafood in the United States, according to spokesman for GULF. (NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune archive)

It’s a good time for locals to get in the habit of finding out where the seafood they are eating comes from, he said, noting, “90 percent of seafood consumed in the United States is imported” from other countries.

The No. 1 import is shrimp, he said, adding that often people may not realize they are not eating seafood pulled from Gulf waters.

“It’s really important for consumers to ask questions about where their seafood comes from because that really ties back to supporting local communities,” he said. “For us it’s an education program and an outreach program.”

GULF hosts events, such as the recent “Summer of Sustainability” dinners, to raise awareness and developed the Gulf Seafood Guide App to help consumers make decisions when buying seafood. The guide includes finfish and shellfish, as well as restaurant partners in the Audubon Nature Institute’s program.

A new smart phone app helps consumers choose sustainable seafood from the Gulf of Mexico.

During National Seafood Month, GULF encourages people to patronize restaurants that are GULF Restaurant Partners in the metro area, he said.

GULF works with chefs providing a database with quarterly updates on the status, stock assessments of species that commonly fished from Gulf. Fallon maintains that Gulf seafood tastes better and is a way for diners to support their own economy while making a “healthy, sustainable choice.”

“The restaurants that we work with are all committed to those goals as well,” he said.

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by Ann Maloney

The Times-Picayune