Seafood is any form of sea life regarded as food by humans, prominently including fish and shellfish. Shellfish include various species of molluscs, crustaceans, and echinoderms. Historically, marine mammals such as cetaceans as well as seals have been eaten as food, though that happens to a lesser extent in modern times. Edible sea plants such as some seaweeds and microalgae are widely eaten as sea vegetables around the world, especially in Asia. In the United States, although not generally in the United Kingdom, the term "seafood" is extended to fresh water organisms eaten by humans, so all edible aquatic life may be referred to as "seafood".
The harvesting of wild seafood is usually known as fishing or hunting, while the cultivation and farming of seafood is known as aquaculture or fish farming. Seafood is often colloquially distinguished from meat; vegetarians who consume seafood as the only source of meat are said to adhere to pescetarianism. Seafood is an important source of protein in many diets around the world, especially in coastal areas.
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