It turns out Oceana isn’t the only one looking into seafood fraud; just this week, a huge seafood fraud bust in Florida was announced. And thanks to President Obama’s pledge to tackle the issue, we may see additional efforts to stop seafood fraud and illegal fishing in the future.
In a press release issued on Tuesday, officials announced that True Nature Seafood, LLC, a seafood company based in Miami, Fla., was charged and fined for importing Chilean steelhead trout and relabeling and selling the fish as salmon. The fraudulently labeled product, whose import and sale violated Title 16 of the Lacey Act, was sold in the United States and Canada and resulted in company profits of over $77,000. True Nature Seafood pled guilty to the charges and was sentenced to pay $1 million, including a $500,000 fine and $500,000 in community service payments. Additionally, the company received a five-year probation sentence.
In official statements, the U.S. Attorney’s Office supported and encouraged efforts to combat seafood fraud, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Fisheries Department deemed preventing further seafood fraud “a high priority.” True Nature Seafood’s fraud “bust” demonstrates that the issue of seafood fraud exists and demands legal action. President Obama’s commitment to combatting seafood fraud is a promising and hopeful step towards ending such illegal practices and in ensuring that legally-caught, honestly-labeled seafood reaches consumers’ plates. Oceana applauds the efforts of the federal enforcement agencies working to put a stop to seafood fraud.