A new report describes rampant seafood mislabeling worldwide. Recent EU regulations may be working. Will the U.S. follow suit?
A new report out by Oceana (full disclosure—I’m one of the report authors) looking at seafood fraud worldwide found that out of 25,000 samples in more than 200 studies conducted in 55 countries, roughly one in five were mislabeled, on average.
Besides the basic fairness and honesty that customers expect in most retail situations (“Hey, I paid for red snapper. Shouldn’t I get red snapper?”), seafood fraud has serious economic, ecological, and health consequences.
Illegal, unregulated, and unreported (IUU) fishing is an estimated $23 billion industry, and one of the greatest threats to marine biodiversity and abundance. Seafood mislabeling can hide that. The Oceana report highlighted cases of fraud ranging from individual swaps of cheaper fish like cheaper haddock being sold as more expensive cod, to an investigation currently underway for a New England supplier allegedly covering up roughly $154 million in illegally caught and mislabeled seafood. Instances of economically motivated mislabeling like these defraud consumers, and undercut honest fishermen and businesses.
The fact that I am considered an adult is both terrifying and hillarious