"Pilson: It’s fitting that October is National Seafood Month" By Nicole Pilson Coastal & Marine Resources Texas A&M AgriLife Matagorda County

   Alright, I know September isn’t quite over yet (also, it flew by!) but I want y’all to start looking to October. While it’s traditionally a time for ghouls and pumpkins, it’s also a time for seafood.  
   October is National Seafood Month, which is pretty fitting considering the U.S. is recognized as a global leader in sustainable seafood - for both farmed & wild-caught. 
   If you’re a commercial fishermen or have a farm, you know we have some of the most rigorous and transparent environmental standards in the world.  
   And to the rest of us who enjoy the fruits of these labors, I have a challenge for you! 
   It is probably safe to say that most of have shrimp, fish, or crabs fairly regularly as part of our meals- we do live on the coast with tons of access to fresh seafood, after all.  
   But how often do you think of or check where your seafood comes from?  
   Ok, obviously if you just pulled that red out of the bay or went to a bait stand you know you are getting local product. 
   But what about the fish you ordered in the restaurant or the frozen shrimp from the grocery store?  
   I challenge you to be more inquisitive about your seafood’s place of origin. 
   Do not be afraid to ask your server where that Mahi Mahi came from or do your research on a restaurant before dining there. Check the label on your bag of shrimp or the product marker at the fish counter. 
   Yes, I know the Argentinian shrimp are cheap and the bag of frozen Striped Pangasius is super convenient.  
   But the regulations for raising seafood and wild-caught sustainability are not as robust as ours. It is worth the extra expense to ensure you are getting top quality food. 
      And by purchasing local or U.S. seafood products, we are supporting our own fishermen, farmers, and processors.  
   Trust me, if it is a product of the States or Texas (look for the “GO TEXAN” logo) it will be proudly boasted somewhere on the bag or say on the marker. 
   As a Texan, I take pride in buying products that are raised or caught by Texans in Texas and that goes beyond produce and meat. The same attention to buying seafood needs to be applied.  
   Once you know where to look, how to ask, and what to buy, purchasing local shrimp, crabs, lobster (thank you, East Coast fishermen!), fish, or crawfish becomes a normal habit. 
   So this October, I want foreign seafood to be the trick you stay away from!  
   Treat yourself and your families to delicious, homegrown/caught seafood and challenge yourselves to be more cognizant of where that product came from. 
   If you already keep yourself educated and aware of where your marine meal comes from, that’s great!  
   If you are new to the concept, no worries- you got to start somewhere! 
   You should also know that incorporating seafood into your diet has some really good health benefits (maybe go easy on the fried catfish though, ok?) and is a great source of protein. 
   I would love to see your home-cooked seafood meals or maybe that snapper dinner you ordered out!  
   Send in your pictures to the Matagorda County- Coastal & Marine Resources Facebook page or to our Instagram page (@matagordacountycmr) and I will repost it!  
   Tell me where your meal came from (include restaurant, bait stand, dock, farm, bay, etc.) and if it was home-cooked, share the recipe. 
   Make sure your restaurant seafood is a product of Texas or the States, or it does not count! Social media not your speed? 
   Email it to me at Nicole.pilson@ag.tamu.edu. I cannot wait to see your meals and how y’all celebrate National Seafood Month this October.  
   Be well & eat well, Matagorda County!

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