Grouper Switcheroo.... Those Pesky Regulations! - Oceana USA
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May 29, 2007

Grouper Switcheroo…. Those Pesky Regulations!

A New York Times story in this past Sunday’s paper, “That Grouper on the Menu? Turns Out It Was a Fish Tale,” tells an interesting story about restaurants in Madeira Beach, Fla., the self-described “grouper capital of the world” (as the Times puts it).  According to the Times and Florida’s Attorney General Office, 17 of 24 the restaurants that were tested, in the grouper capital, were passing off other kinds of fish (including tilapia, bream, hake, sutchi, emperor, green weakfish, painted sweetlips) as grouper.

The cause of this “bait and switch” was a shortage of grouper – implies the story– brought about when “along with the state, the National Marine Fisheries Service started significantly limiting how much fishermen could catch. The price of the local fish started jumping, and the bell at Woody’s Waterfront stopped ringing.”

The story does point out that the “…party started winding down in the mid-1980s when federal studies showed that grouper were being overfished.”  Unfortunately grouper aren’t the only fish that are hard to find– an increasing number of studies demonstrate the decline of the world’s fisheries.