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Red Lobster Exec Endorses Fish Farming

US - The president of Red Lobster, America's largest seafood restaurant chain, says that consumers are willing to pay more for locally produced catches of the day.

Endorsing the expansion of the US fish farming industry, Kim Lopdrup said that American consumers would pay a "modest premium" for homegrown seafood, based on the belief that local is fresher and of higher quality

Red Lobster, a division of Darden Restaurants Inc. actually purchases 80 per cent of its seafood from abroad.

Lopdrup, speaking at a government-sponsored conference, said the US should increase the amount of fish farmed in federal waters in order to shrink the country's approximate $8 billion seafood deficit.

Expanding fish farming's potential will be critical as the world's population and demand for seafood rise at the same time wild fish stocks decline from overfishing and pollution, according to government and industry supporters.

Fish farming, or aquaculture, is a $70 billion global business that accounts for roughly half the seafood consumed worldwide. The U.S. contributes just 1.5 percent of worldwide production, with 90 percent coming from Asia - and in particular China, according to Commerce Department data.

Source: Houston Chronical