Seafood nutrition experts are gathering in the nation’s capital next week for a State of the Science Symposium.

The non-profit Seafood Nutrition Partnership hosts the event as part of a public health campaign started in 2015 aimed at getting Americans to eat more seafood.

A trending topic on the agenda is seafood’s connection to brain health –

“The brain and the retina in the eye are omega 3 organs. Their structural stuff – you can say that as calcium is to the bones omega 3 is to the brain.”

Dr. Tom Brenna is a professor of pediatrics and nutrition at Dell Medical School at the University of Texas and chair of the Partnership’s advisory council.

Added to the symposium mix this year, he says, are fisheries managers, aquaculture experts and environmental groups.

“And we, the guys on the medical nutrition side, were thrilled to hear about the issues connected to fisheries management and aquaculture and that kind of stuff.   There is so much misinformation out there about the state of fisheries and management. Having folks who can speak authoritatively about what NOAA and folks in government are responsible for in US fisheries and around the world is extraordinarily valuable and something we don’t get in any other forums.”

The Partnership works with local dieticians and uses educational programs and social media to get its health messages across. Brenna says they have yet to hit on a catchy national brand –

“We don’t have a good a way of getting that word out and getting people the notion that it can be such a delicious part of meals. Maybe we should have a contest to find a nice tag line that would identify seafood in the same way as Got Milk or Beef, It’s what’s for dinner.”

A focus of the Nutrition Partnership is moms, but Brenna agrees that seafood is missing from America’s baby food offerings.

 “To be perfectly honest, I don’t know what the problem is. It seems like it’s a consumer demand question – companies sell what the consumers demand and apparently we have not done the kind of job that we should have in educating consumers in what they ought to be demanding for their kids.  

“In nutrition circles, for 30 years we have been discussing that when we transition a baby or toddler, usually between six months and 2 years, from breast milk or formula that contains omega 3s and DHA, they are transitioning to foods that have hardly any omega threes at all, and no fish.   We should be weaning kids to the foods that are going to be important throughout their lives. And this may be a reason why they are not consuming seafood when they get older.    This is something that maybe we can work with baby food manufacturers.”

The seafood nutrition science symposium is set for Friday, Sept. 14 in Washington, DC. Audio and video will be available after the event.