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February 4, 2016

The Human Cost of Seafood Fraud


From salmon to shrimp, seafood fraud is a major issue in the United States subjecting consumers to a bait and switch. In a recent Oceana study, over a third of Maryland blue crab cakes tested in the Maryland and Washington, D.C. region contained different imported crab species instead of the local blue crab they advertised.

The iconic Chesapeake Bay blue crab is considered a “best choice” for seafood sustainability depending on the fishing gear used. Chesapeake blue crab stocks are slowly recovering thanks to more effective fishing regulations – though their relative scarcity often keeps prices higher than imported crab. Those imported crabs, by contrast, are often blue swimming crab which can come from illegal or unregulated fisheries in India and Southeast Asia. This forces local watermen and businesses to compete with cheaper, mislabeled and irresponsibly caught seafood from foreign waters.

Oceana works to require traceability for all seafood to help  prevent seafood mislabeling and keep illegally caught fish out of the market. Learn more about our seafood fraud campaign here, or donate here to support our work.