The most recent stats total 16.6 pounds per capita, according to the National Marine Fisheries Service. And about 60 percent of that eating is taking place in restaurants. Although the seafood supply has held steady, the industry is struggling to keep up with demand, especially if that supply is mismanaged.
"Sustainability and safety of the supply are the top two challenges," says Henry Lovejoy, president of Eco-Fish, a seafood wholesaler. Price is the third.
"Seafood is the last hunter-gatherer food system," he adds. "Since harvesting is closely tied to the lifestyle of the fisherman, the product is more prone to price fluctuations." Right now, fuel prices have jacked up the cost of doing business and fishing fleets have to pass on those increases. With customer expectations and prices both running high, restaurateurs have to juggle several variables to make smart buying decisions.