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House Introduces Bill to Stop Seafood Fraud

House Introduces Bill to Stop Seafood Fraud

Oceana

Oceana commends U.S. Reps. Edward Markey (MA-7) and Barney Frank (MA-4) today for introducing the Safety and Fraud Enforcement for Seafood (SAFE Seafood) Act to address the growing problem of seafood fraud. If passed, the bill would help stop seafood fraud by requiring full traceability for all seafood sold in the U.S., ensuring that consumers can follow their seafood from boat to plate.

Seafood fraud—practices like species substitution and false labeling—hurts honest fishermen, consumers and seafood businesses, and allows illegally caught fish to enter the U.S. seafood supply. Recent studies have found that fraud occurs up to 70 percent of the time for commonly-swapped species such as red snapper, wild salmon and Atlantic cod.

The SAFE Seafood Act would implement full traceability of seafood and require that information such as the scientific name of the fish, where and how it was caught, whether it was wild or farmed and what transformation it may have undergone must accompany the fish. The bill would also require increased coordination between the federal agencies already tasked with combating seafood fraud, allow for increased inspections of seafood imports and maintain a list of standardized names for seafood, including the acceptable and unacceptable market names and any consumption advisories that exist.

Oceana Campaign Director Beth Lowell released this statement following the bill’s introduction:

“Representatives Markey and Frank should be applauded for introducing this much-needed legislation to help stop seafood fraud.

"Seafood fraud is cheating consumers, hurting honest fishermen and seafood businesses, putting our health at risk and undermining conservation efforts.

"From our recent seafood testing, we have found seafood fraud everywhere we look—from Boston to Los Angeles to Miami. Our studies have shown that seafood fraud is not an isolated, regional issue, but a widespread problem that needs national attention. Congress should pass the SAFE Seafood Act to ensure the seafood sold in the U.S. is safe, legal and honestly labeled, while providing consumers with more information about the seafood they purchase.

"With a complete traceability system in place throughout the seafood supply chain, consumers and suppliers alike will no longer have to wonder if what they’re getting is actually what they paid for.”

Oceana would like to thank Reps. Walter Jones (NC-3), William Keating (MA-10) and Joe Courtney (CT-2) for co-sponsoring this important piece of legislation.

For more information about seafood fraud and Oceana’s campaign, click here.

Visit EcoWatch's FOOD page for more related news on this topic.

 

A plume of smoke from wildfires burning in the Angeles National Forest is seen from downtown Los Angeles on Aug. 29, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images

California is bracing for rare January wildfires this week amid damaging Santa Ana winds coupled with unusually hot and dry winter weather.

High winds, gusting up to 80- to 90 miles per hour in some parts of the state, are expected to last through Wednesday evening. Nearly the entire state has been in a drought for months, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, which, alongside summerlike temperatures, has left vegetation dry and flammable.

Utilities Southern California Edison and PG&E, which serves the central and northern portions of the state, warned it may preemptively shut off power to hundreds of thousands of customers to reduce the risk of electrical fires sparked by trees and branches falling on live power lines. The rare January fire conditions come on the heels of the worst wildfire season ever recorded in California, as climate change exacerbates the factors causing fires to be more frequent and severe.

California is also experiencing the most severe surge of COVID-19 cases since the beginning of the pandemic, with hospitals and ICUs over capacity and a stay-at-home order in place. Wildfire smoke can increase the risk of adverse health effects due to COVID, and evacuations forcing people to crowd into shelters could further spread the virus.

As reported by AccuWeather:

In the atmosphere, air flows from high to low pressure. The setup into Wednesday is like having two giant atmospheric fans working as a team with one pulling and the other pushing the air in the same direction.
Normally, mountains to the north and east of Los Angeles would protect the downtown which sits in a basin. However, with the assistance of the offshore storm, there will be areas of gusty winds even in the L.A. Basin. The winds may get strong enough in parts of the basin to break tree limbs and lead to sporadic power outages and sparks that could ignite fires.
"Typically, Santa Ana winds stay out of downtown Los Angeles and the L.A. Basin, but this time, conditions may set up just right to bring 30- to 40-mph wind gusts even in those typically calm condition areas," said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Mike Doll.

For a deeper dive:

AP, LA Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Washington Post, Weather Channel, AccuWeather, New York Times, Slideshow: New York Times; Climate Signals Background: Wildfires, 2020 Western wildfire season

For more climate change and clean energy news, you can follow Climate Nexus on Twitter and Facebook, sign up for daily Hot News, and visit their news site, Nexus Media News.

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