Think back to the last time you ate seafood: Do you know what species it was and where it was caught? If you think the answer is yes -- we hate to break it you, but you might have been fooled.
Seafood fraud is making it extremely difficult for consumers like you to tell where your seafood comes from, and in some cases, what it is, with major consequences for ocean health, your health and your wallet.
At Oceana we think this is a serious problem, and next week we are launching a brand new campaign to change it.
A whopping 84 percent of the seafood eaten in the United States is imported, but only 2 percent is currently inspected and less than 0.001 percent specifically for seafood fraud. Seafood fraud can come in many different forms, from mislabeling fish and falsifying documents to adding too much ice to packaging.
Our seafood is following an increasingly complex path from fishing vessel to seafood processor and ultimately our plates. As a result, very little information follows seafood through the system. Recent studies have found that seafood may be mislabeled as often as 25 to 70 percent of the time for fish like red snapper, wild salmon and Atlantic cod.
In a blow to the salmon aquaculture industry, on Tuesday Target announced it will stop selling farmed salmon in favor of more environmentally sustainable wild-caught salmon in its fresh, frozen and smoked seafood sections.
With its announcement, Target -- the second largest retailer in the country behind Wal-Mart -- raises the profile of the slew of problems associated with farming one of the most popular seafood species.
In case you need a refresher on why farmed salmon is so deleterious to the environment and potentially public health, check out this post I wrote back in 2008.
In the U.S. Oceana is working to protect wild Pacific salmon, and in Chile, we are working to reduce the use of antibiotics in the industry, reduce salmon escapes and establish a marine protected area in Patagonia to defend its pristine ecosystems from the industry's southern push.