- A 16-foot-long baby humpback whale was released after becoming entangled in a net off Queensland, Australia. Humpback whales are currently migrating back to their feeding grounds in Antarctica. ABC Australia
When you go to a restaurant and think you’re ordering a white tuna or filet of wild-caught salmon, there’s a good chance the fish on your dinner plate is not what it seems. Numerous studies have uncovered that seafood fraud—the dishonest practice of swapping one type of seafood for another—occurs on a global scale in all steps of the seafood supply chain. Seafood fraud studies have been undertaken in 29 countries and on all continents except Antarctica, and every study have uncovered seafood fraud to some degree.
A new study conducted by Oceana, the Danish newspaper Søndagsavisen, and the TV program “Go’Aften Denmark” found that there is a high level of sea fraud in Danish markets. The study revealed that 18 percent of cod sold in fishmongers is not cod, but actually haddock or saithe. In total, 120 samples from fishmongers, supermarkets, and restaurants in the wider Copenhagen region underwent DNA analysis.
The House Natural Resources Committee took a significant step forward yesterday in the fight against illegal fishing and seafood fraud, passing the Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing Enforcement Act (H.R. 69) by unanimous consent. It’s now headed to the House floor.
Late last month, the public comment period closed on the President’s Task Force on Combatting Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated Fishing and Seafood Fraud. During the comment period, the Task Force held four public meetings: two webinars and two in-person meetings, one in Seattle, Washington, and one in Washington, D.C. Oceana provided comments at both in-person meetings and submitted written comments as well.
Each month, The Beacon features one Oceana staff member, highlighting their role at Oceana and personal history with the oceans. The month’s spotlight is on Oceana’s seafood fraud senior campaign director, Beth Lowell. Take a look below to learn more, and check out previous staff spotlights here.
In a move that will help to turn the tide on seafood fraud, the California legislature passed a bill (SB 1138) late last Friday evening that will help consumers make more informed purchasing decisions for their health and for the health of our oceans. The Senate passed the bill in a vote of 25-10, directly following passage off the Assembly floor in a vote of 57-15.
A new report on the economic benefits of seafood traceability provides compelling evidence for adoption of the practice throughout the seafood industry. Written by Future of Fish, an ocean-focused nonprofit organization, the report makes the case that seafood traceability not only serves to insure a company’s product integrity, but it also provides an added value to the product.
It turns out Oceana isn’t the only one looking into seafood fraud; just this week, a huge seafood fraud bust in Florida was announced. And thanks to President Obama’s pledge to tackle the issue, we may see additional efforts to stop seafood fraud and illegal fishing in the future.
By Leah Powley
Seafood fraud in the Mid-Atlantic region is causing new concern among area watermen and their Congressional representatives. According to crab fishermen in Maryland and Virginia, imported crabmeat is being packaged in the United States, relabeled, and then sold as a “product of the U.S.” This mislabeling—illegal under U.S. law—has gathered attention from the area’s Congressional representatives, who are calling on President Obama to address this seafood fraud.