Jellyfish could be the key to fighting seafood fraud

Written by on November 2, 2016 in Jellyfish, Marine Life

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.

Jellyfish. Photo credit: NOAA.

Jellyfish. Photo credit: NOAA.

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:

Copyright © 2016 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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