Dinner: Nutrition, Consumption, and Preparation

The Atlantic Salmon

Fish are an excellent source of protein, and do not have the saturated fats of red meats. Oily fish such as salmonSalmon

A marine and freshwater food fish, inhabiting North Atlantic waters near the mouths of large rivers. Salmon are anadromous fish, entering rivers to spawn (lay eggs.) In Maine, salmon fishing was once a commercial, then a sport fishery; now wild salmon are an endangered species. Many are farm-raised.
, mackerelMackerel

Atlantic mackerel is the species found in the North Atlantic. A schooling, bony, oily, strongly-flavored food fish, green above with dark blue bars and silvery color below. The commercial stock has rebounded since near collapse in the 1970s. Without ice they spoil quickly. They are caught in purse seines which produce relatively little bycatch and no bottom damage. Today most of Maine's mackerel fishery is recreational.
, troutTrout

One of the salmon family, it is chiefly a fresh water fish with several species. Some can be anadromous and found in salt water.
, herringHerring

Perhaps the world's most important food fish; there are sixteen species, with the Atlantic herring the dominent North Atlantic species. Fished heavily for centuries, today herring is caught in Maine waters primarily for lobster bait with some going to sardines. With new fishing technology there are serious concerns about overfishing.
, sardinesSardines

Small herring, preserved in oil or sauces and canned. Maine had many sardine factories.
, and tunaTuna

Fast swimming migratory ocean fish of tremendous commercial importance. Capture is now regulated by the National Marine Fisheries Service. Appear in the Gulf of Maine in summer where there is a recreational fishery.
, have omega-3 fatty acidsOmega-3 fatty acid

Polyunsaturated fatty acid plentiful in oily fish like herring, mackerel and sardines that appear to have some human health benefits.
that help lower cholesterol levels.

In 2004, Americans ate 16.6 pounds of fish per person per year: about 11.8 pounds fresh or frozen; about 4.5 pounds canned; and only .3 pounds cured. In 2010, overall consumption was down to 15.8 pounds per person. The decrease was seen in the canned fish category (mostly tuna), where amounts declined to 3.7 pounds. Fish is relatively expensive, because there is high demand and limited supplies. The United States imports considerable amounts, in 2010 importing 86% of fish consumed in this country. (These figures are from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Fisheries Service.)

There are many ways to prepare fish. Lobsters, mussels, crab, and shrimp are normally boiled or steamed. Most fish species can be fried, broiled, grilled or baked, with any number of sauces or coatings.