Think back to the last time you ate seafood: Do you know what species it was and where it was caught? If you think the answer is yes — we hate to break it you, but you might have been fooled.
Seafood fraud is making it extremely difficult for consumers like you to tell where your seafood comes from, and in some cases, what it is, with major consequences for ocean health, your health and your wallet.
At Oceana we think this is a serious problem, and next week we are launching a brand new campaign to change it.
A whopping 84 percent of the seafood eaten in the United States is imported, but only 2 percent is currently inspected and less than 0.001 percent specifically for seafood fraud. Seafood fraud can come in many different forms, from mislabeling fish and falsifying documents to adding too much ice to packaging.
Our seafood is following an increasingly complex path from fishing vessel to seafood processor and ultimately our plates. As a result, very little information follows seafood through the system. Recent studies have found that seafood may be mislabeled as often as 25 to 70 percent of the time for fish like red snapper, wild salmon and Atlantic cod.
Think about it like this: we can track a Dole banana back to the packing station on a farm in Central or Latin America, but we are given little to no information about the origins of our seafood, which is one of the most popular foods in the U.S.
In an effort to disguise species that are less desirable, cheaper and more readily available, consumers are frequently served the wrong fish – a completely different species than the one they paid for.
Stay tuned for lots more information about the campaign in the coming weeks!