Another reason to buy from the source: the "imposter fish" phenomenon
Last week, the conservation organization Oceana released the results of its in-depth, two-year study on “seafood fraud” in the US. What did they find? First, their DNA testing showed that ONE THIRD (that's one in three!) of the fish samples that they analyzed were mislabeled. For certain species, mislabeling rates were much higher than this average. For example, 59% of fish labeled as “tuna” was not actually tuna, while only seven of the 120 samples of red snapper purchased nationwide were actually red snapper!
This illegal mislabeling of seafood products in order to yield higher profits is not limited to the US: a 2011 Canadian study found the “imposter fish” phenomenon to be pervasive here as well, with 41% of seafood purchased from stores and restaurants in Vancouver, Toronto, Gatineau, Montreal, and Quebec found to be improperly labeled. Common cases of substitution were of red snapper with tilapia; of Pacific salmon with Atlantic salmon; and of cod with pollack, haddock, hake, and rockfish.
So, how can you find out if the seafood you're eating is truly safe, sustainable, or even a certain species? One way is to avoid buying your fish from retailers and eateries that source from conventional seafood supply chains, which tend to be very long, fragmented, and global in nature (and therefore difficult to trace). By investing in a CSF like Skipper Otto's, you can not only be confident of the type of fish you will be eating, where it was caught, and how, but you can also help to show that CSFs offer a viable model for shortening and localizing seafood supply chains in fishing communities up and down the coast.
For more information on the Oceana study, please see http://oceana.org/sites/default/files/reports/National_Seafood_Fraud_Testing_Results_FINAL.pdf