Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Oceana Tracks Global Seafood Fraud With New Interactive Map

Food

Seafood mislabeling and seafood fraud occurs all over the world, but the global scope of the problem is just becoming understood now.

Photo credit: Oceana / Jenn Hueting

Oceana launched its campaign to Stop Seafood Fraud in 2011 to ensure that seafood sold in the U.S. is safe, legally caught and honestly labeled. Oceana’s campaign activities include determining the true identity of seafood through DNA testing, revealing fraud and urging decision makers to take action.

In 2013, we released a report with the results of more than 1,200 samples of fish from across the country and found that 33 percent was mislabeled. Many other scientists, conservation and consumer organizations, journalists, and students have studied seafood fraud around the world too—including investigations in 29 countries and on all continents except Antarctica—and every study has uncovered fraud.

To keep track of the current state of seafood fraud, Oceana compiled a global map displaying more than 100 studies that focus on seafood fraud or substitutions of different seafood species from the one on the label. This map displays the most current and comprehensive review of seafood fraud literature to date.

Click on the image to access Oceana's interactive map

Each fish on the map represents a different study about seafood mislabeling or species substitution. For studies conducted in multiple locations, a fish icon is placed on each sampling area included in the study. The colors of the fish indicate the amount of mislabeling found in each study, with darker red colors indicating higher levels of fraud: 

Here are some tips on how to use the map:

To hide the legend, click on the arrow found on the top right hand corner of the legend (next to “Seafood Fraud: A Global Problem”). To expand to a full screen view, click on the link provided below the map. If the map is slow to load, please refresh the page.

Add or remove layers by checking or unchecking the boxes in the legend on the left-hand side:

Click on an icon to learn more about the study. To access the study directly, use the “Link” provided by copying and pasting it into your browser.

Search for where seafood fraud has been found near you and worldwide. To do this, type your location into the search bar on the top of the page. For example, here are the results for “Florida, United States.”

Please note that icon locations on the map do not represent actual retail or exact sampling locations. To choose the icon locations for the map, coordinates were approximated based on the geographic information provided in the study. Most studies list the city or region in which they sampled. For studies that did not provide cities, the icons were placed on the capital city of that country.

Seafood fraud has implications for health, our wallets and our oceans.

Seafood fraud can harm public health. King mackerel, a high mercury fish native to the Western Atlantic, was passed off as lower mercury fish not only in Oceana’s U.S. study, but also in South Africa, posing a threat to pregnant women and children. Escolar, a fish that can cause extremely unpleasant gastrointestinal effects, turned up fraudulently labeled as “white tuna” in the U.S., as “sablefish” in the Philippines and as “mackerel” in the Czech Republic. Seafood fraud also cheats consumers when lower cost species are passed off as more expensive ones, like swapping tilapia for red snapper. Furthermore, seafood fraud hurts our oceans as it enables illegally caught seafood, such as endangered sturgeon caviar, to be laundered in the marketplace.

Requiring traceability—tracking fish from boat to plate—will help to curb the issue of seafood fraud.

More information that follows our fish through the supply chain will not only ensure that fish were legally caught, but also allows for faster recalls when needed, deters fraudulent activities and helps target enforcement to prevent seafood fraud.

Contact us at seafoodfraudmap@oceana.org with questions or comments, or to let us know of any additional studies about seafood fraud.

 This article was originally published on Oceana’s blog.

 

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

These seven cookbooks by Black chefs have inspired the author's family. LightFieldStudios / Getty Images

By Zahida Sherman

Cooking has always intimidated me. As a child, I would anxiously peer into the kitchen as my mother prepared Christmas dinner for our family.

Read More Show Less
Hand sanitizer is offered to students during summer school sessions at Happy Day School in Monterey Park, California on July 9, 2020. FREDERIC J. BROWN / AFP via Getty Images

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has expanded its list of potentially toxic hand sanitizers to avoid because they could be contaminated with methanol.

Read More Show Less
Over the next couple of weeks, crews will fully remove the 125-foot-wide, 25-foot-tall dam, allowing the Middle Fork Nooksack to run free for the first time in 60 years. Ctyonahl / Wikimedia Commons / CC by 3.0

By Tara Lohan

The conclusion to decades of work to remove a dam on the Middle Fork Nooksack River east of Bellingham, Washington began with a bang yesterday as crews breached the dam with a carefully planned detonation. This explosive denouement is also a beginning.

Read More Show Less
A man observes a flooded stretch of Dock Street in Annapolis, Maryland on Jan. 25, 2010. Matt Rath / Chesapeake Bay Program

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said Tuesday that a trend of increased coastal flooding will continue to worsen as the climate crisis escalates.

Read More Show Less
A new tool called The Food Systems Dashboard aims to save decision makers time and energy by painting a complete picture of a country's food system. Photo courtesy of Dr. Jessica Fanzo and Dr. Rebecca McLaren

By Katie Howell

A new tool called The Food Systems Dashboard aims to save decision makers time and energy by painting a complete picture of a country's food system. Created by the Johns Hopkins' Alliance for a Healthier World, the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), and the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the Dashboard compiles food systems data from over 35 sources and offers it as a public good.

Read More Show Less
White's seahorse, also called the Sydney seahorse, is native to the Pacific waters off Australia's east coast. Sylke Rohrlach / Wikimedia Commons / CC by 2.0

By Manuela Callari

It can grow to a maximum of six inches (16 centimeters), change color depending on mood and habitat, and, like all seahorses, the White's seahorse male gestates its young. But this tiny snouted fish is under threat.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden speaks at a "Build Back Better" Clean Energy event on July 14, 2020 at the Chase Center in Wilmington, Delaware. Joe Biden / Facebook

Presidential hopeful Joe Biden announced a $2 trillion plan Tuesday to boost American investment in clean energy and infrastructure.

Read More Show Less