Seafood Mislabeling is Having Negative Impacts on the Marine Environment

Media outlets, governments, academics, and NGOs are increasingly recognizing and documenting seafood fraud. Policies are being designed and revamped in an attempt to reduce seafood mislabeling. And, more and more groups are testing products for mislabeling. Despite the increased attention, however, we still know very little about the consequences of seafood mislabeling. Evidence for negative impacts has been largely limited to hypotheses and anecdotes.

A new paper by Advanced Conservation Strategies and colleagues provides a system-level analysis to show that conditions exist for seafood mislabeling to lead to negative outcomes. They combined multiple data sources to characterize the mislabeling landscape for the entire US seafood supply. Doing so allowed them to estimate how much mislabeled seafood Americans are consuming every year. That statistic, known as mislabeled apparent consumption, turns out to be a lot: somewhere between 420-550 million pounds of seafood, which exceeds total seafood landings of all but three ports in the United States. That’s more than a pound of mislabeled seafood for every American.

By compiling lots of different data and analyzing it in new ways, we demonstrated that mislabeling rates for seafood products are often quite lower than what is commonly reported. However, when those rates are combined with how much of those seafood products are consumed, Americans are likely eating quite a bit of mislabeled seafood, says Josh Donlan, who co-led the research.

To read the rest of the story, please go to: Phys Org