Seafood is a global commodity traded around the world, often following a long, complex and non-transparent supply chain. Seafood fraud can come in many forms, from short-weighting packaging to falsifying the real origin of a fish. Oceana has focused specifically on species substitution, where one fish is sold as another, often a lower-cost fish sold as a more expensive one. Species substitution cheats consumers, undermines honest fishermen, and can put public health and the oceans at risk. In addition, seafood fraud allows illegally caught fish to gain a new identity and enter the legal seafood trade.

Oceana has led the way by exposing seafood fraud, conducting our own investigations, and successfully campaigning for policy changes to stop seafood fraud and illegal fishing. Our efforts helped establish the first-ever requirements in the U.S. for catch documentation and traceability for some imported seafood at risk of illegal fishing and seafood fraud.   

While the new requirements were a big first step, more needs to be done to fully address illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, and seafood fraud. All seafood should be tracked from boat to plate to ensure that it is safe, legally caught, responsibly sourced and honestly labeled.

  • A review of more than 200 studies worldwide found 1 in 5 samples were mislabeled.
  • Seafood fraud creates a market for illegally caught fish.
  • Seafood fraud can directly threaten human health.