Seafood Fraud is Also Bad for Our Wallets

Written by on August 13, 2013 in Policy & Ocean Law
Are you being charged too much for that red snapper?

Are you being charged too much for that red snapper? Photo credit: ulterior epicure via photopin cc.

From the same organization that brought to light the nationwide seafood fraud scandal, a new Oceana report reveals just how much seafood fraud is costing us.

Oceana’s latest report, Seafood Sticker Shock: Why you may be paying too much for your fish, discusses how the misleading, inconsistent and inaccurate labeling of seafood at markets and restaurants is costing consumers.

From the ocean to your plate, a fish makes many stops and there are plenty of opportunities for the name and price of that fish to change. There is very limited traceability of that supply chain so it’s difficult to know if your expensive fish has been swapped with a cheaper alternative.

Oceana found that some of the most commonly swapped seafood was Atlantic cod, grouper, red snapper, wild salmon, sole and white tuna. If your grouper was switched with tilapia at a nice restaurant, you could be paying up to $12 too much. The next time you order fish, make sure you’re getting what you’re paying for!

Check out their infographic to see two of the most common switches:

Cost of Seafood, Oceana.

Cost of Seafood, Oceana.

So what are we doing to stop this?

We’re still waiting on the SAFE Seafood Act which was introduced by United Sates Representative Edward Markey (D-MA) in response to the initial seafood fraud report. The Safety and Fraud Enforcement for Seafood Act would require full traceability of all seafood sold in the U.S. so consumers would know everything they need to about the fish they’re purchasing.

Some states are taking matters into their own hands. Back in May, Washington state Governor Jay Inslee signed a seafood labeling bill into law. The bill requires all fresh, frozen or processed fish and shellfish to be labeled by common name instead of by a market name which is usually ambiguous and sometimes just plain wrong.

In Massachusetts, State Rep. Ted Speliotis is co-sponsoring seafood labeling legislation aimed at restaurants. The law, similar to one passed in Florida, would require restaurants to clearly label what they’re selling in order to prevent seafood fraud.

To learn more:

Copyright © 2013 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.

About the Author

About the Author: Emily Tripp is the Publisher and Editor of She holds marine science and biology degrees from the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and a Master of Advanced Studies degree in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. When she's not writing about marine science, she's probably running around outside or playing with her dog. .


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