For seafood lovers in Maryland, and for many around the U.S., there’s one fact that rings true: there’s nothing like a good Maryland crabcake. That rich, lumpy goodness comes from the Maryland “blue crab,” callinectes sapidus, and the dish is a cultural and culinary staple for the entire state. So, naturally, some people will do anything to protect them.
Maryland state delegate Eric Luedtke recently introduced a new bill to help reduce seafood fraud among species like Maryland’s classic crab. The bill would require seafood to be properly identified at the point of sale (on the label, sign, or menu), prohibit sellers from knowingly mislabeling a species, and pass stronger requirements for the labeling of the Maryland blue crab.
“To protect the public health, to protect the consumer, and to protect our watermen from unfair competition, Marylanders deserve to know that they are being served the seafood they ordered,” Luedtke said. Oceana applauds this bill as a step in the right direction for the entire country, having found only last year that a whopping one-third of all seafood Oceana tested from around the country was mislabeled according to FDA guidelines, including 26 percent of the seafood tested in the Washington, DC and Maryland area.
Seafood fraud is a dangerous game of deception in a number of ways: not only are customers duped out of buying the product they search for, but swapping one species for another that is cheaper, less desirable, or more readily available can hurt honest fishermen, businesses, and consumers, even allowing illegally-caught fish to enter our markets.
“Providing customers with more information about the seafood they purchase helps protect our heath, wallets and oceans,” says Oceana campaign director Beth Lowell. “Consumers have a right to know more about their seafood, including what type of fish they are buying and serving to their families.” Whether you’ve served Maryland blue crab or tuna for dinner, as you pick up a forkful of food, do you really want to be wondering: “Am I eating what I think I’m eating?”
Marylanders, help stop seafood fraud today by telling your representative to support the Maryland Seafood Authenticity and Enforcement Act.