An ocean advocacy group called Oceana recently released a study about fraud in the fisheries industry. Among the findings are that people within the industry are mislabeling cheaper, more readily available species of fish as big sellers like red snapper or wild salmon. In fact, the study claims that about half of the fish we’re eating is not what we think it is. The fisheries industry responded to the report, saying they want to clean up fishing as much as anyone but they say they’ve taken big strides in doing so. They point to the fact that they’ve pledged to stamp out fraud by creating the Better Seafood Board in 2007. The board is an offshoot of the National Fisheries Institute, whose members commit to a higher set of standards. This report comes at a time when people are trying to be more aware of where their food comes from. It could have a major impact on the seafood industry if the public feels like they can’t trust the labels they see in the display cases. On the other hand, the fisheries industry cautions us not to put too much stock in the numbers of a clearly biased group of researchers. So, is this flagrant fish fraud…or a set of funny numbers?
Gavin Gibbons, Spokesman for the National Fisheries Institute
Margot Stiles, Marine scientist at Oceana who wrote the report