The United States is the largest world seafood producer, the fourth largest exporter and the largest importer of seafood.

So for a long time, we've heard the disparaging statistic that 90 percent of the fish Americans consume is imported. This figure is not accurate because much of the seafood farmed or caught in the U.S. is sent overseas for processing, then sent back. Because of our trade codes, the processed seafood products are many times mistakenly recorded as imported, despite being of U.S. origin.

Here's an example of what I'm talking about. Pollack is what's used in McDonald's (and others') Filet-O-Fish sandwich. The pollack is caught throughout U.S. waters, but once the fish is landed, most of it is sent to China to be processed into breaded squares and then sent back to the U.S. and sold to us in restaurants and grocery stores.

Pollack is not a Chinese fish, but the codes used when sending the product back here signify the Filet-O-Fish are of Chinese origin and they are recorded as imported or foreign seafood.

The 90 percent figure is misleading because recording fish caught in the U.S. but processed in China has led to this overestimation of America's seafood deficit or the ratio of foreign to domestic seafood consumption in our country. Distorted import data has been accepted and shared as the gospel truth taken at face value, until now.

Phil Paleologos is the host of The Phil Paleologos Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @PhilPaleologos. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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