Seafood fraud (mislabeling seafood, which happens sometimes accidentally and often intentionally to fetch a better price) is a big, expensive problem. Researchers are working on ways to test seafood in order to determine if it was labeled correctly.
This is a difficult task because, even if DNA tests reveal that a particular piece of seafood is the species it’s supposed to be, we still don’t know if it came from the right location. A research team from the University of Southampton may have the answer.
“Recently, genetic tests have revealed widespread mislabelling of the type of fish being sold worldwide, but currently we don’t have any way of testing where a fished product was caught,” Dr. Clive Trueman, Associate Professor in Marine Ecology, explained in a news release.
When animals feed at sea, they have a chemical record that reflects the area where they fed. This chemical trace can be used to track their movements and could help scientists battle seafood fraud while maintaining healthy fish stocks.
The Southampton team developed maps of chemical variation in jellyfish caught across the North Sea. They used those maps to compare the same chemical signals in scallops and herring caught in known locations in the North Sea. The chemical tests were able to accurately link scallops and herring to their exact locations and could be used to determine the locations of other animals.
“Understanding the origin of fish or fish products is increasingly important as we try to manage our marine resources more effectively,” Dr. Trueman said. “Fish from sustainable fisheries can fetch a premium price, but concerned consumers need to be confident that fish really were caught from sustainable sources.”
To learn more:
- Read the news release: Jellyfish help scientists to fight food fraud
- Read the full study: Stable isotope-based location in a shelf sea setting: accuracy and precision are comparable to light-based location methods
Copyright © 2016 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.