newswebinar series illustrates health benefits of eating seafood

Webinar series illustrates health benefits of eating seafood

Virginia Tech researchers, left to right, Joseph Schmitt, Jason Emmel, and Zach Moran hold a blue catfish caught for testing before releasing it unharmed back into the James River. Photo by Donald Orth.

Seafood produced by Virginia aquaculturists and fishermen is the focus of “Eat More Fish,” an ongoing webinar series.

A 2018 Census of Aquaculture, according to a press release, reveals that sales of Virginia aquacultural products totaled $113 million that year, the largest amount by seafood on the East Coast and the fifth largest in the U.S.

The webinar series’ goal is to show a glimpse into the life of Virginia’s seafood sector, share how seafood provides a healthy lifestyle and provide seafood preparation tips.

“This series we’ve developed is designed to help (consumers) understand why we should eat more fish, why fish is good for you and the science behind it,” David Crosby, a fish health specialist for Virginia State University’s aquaculture program, said in the press release.

The webinars are free and co-hosted by Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia State University, Virginia Tech, the Virginia Seafood Agricultural Research and Extension Center and the Virginia Seafood and Virginia Marine Products Board.

“We’re going to talk about aquaculture and fisheries development in Virginia and how it relates to aquaculture, which is important,” Crosby added. “That’s the reason we’re doing this — we want folks to eat more fish, and we want them to eat fish that’s grown in Virginia.”

Crosby led a panel discussion in the first webinar of the four-part series on June 29 with “Know Your Virginia Seafood.” The discussion began with information about the nutritional benefits of seafood from Susan Prillaman, a Bedford County-based Extension family and consumer sciences agent. She said that fish are high in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Seafood is low in cholesterol and saturated fat, while high in calcium, iron, zinc and vitamins B and D.

The second installment, “Fish: Healthy, Lean Protein,” was held July 6. The final installments are scheduled for July 13 and July 20. Topics will include cooking instructions, recipe ideas and safe food handling.

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.