Tuesday, May 22, 2007

CSI: seafood--who is that fish, really?

Grouper in Florida are so rare you need a forensic fishologist to identify what's really in your grouper sandwich.

Overfishing and scarcity have pushed up the price of grouper, and cheaper substitutes like Vietnamese catfish are now routinely sold as grouper.

This problem has several dimensions: it cheats you out of your seafood dollars, masks the decline of our precious groupers, and it shows that the seafood business needs better oversight. Who will step up and address these problems?

This is not fresh news. The seafood business seems slow to step up. Where's the outrage from restaurant owners? I think everyone in the seafood business is afraid of rocking the boat. They won't like the outcome if they keep serving fake grouper and refuse to get their fish houses in order.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Interesting! How do you address this problem?

Mark Powell said...

Better monitoring of seafood, stronger regulations on labeling and testing, public pressure to seafood sellers to get their house in order.

Jennifer Jacquet said...

Another way to address this problem would have been with MANDATORY seafood labeling under Country-of-Origin legislation (COOL). Instead, after millions of lobbying dollars and years of delay, the labeling requirements (passed in 2004) are only VOLUNTARY and DO NOT APPLY TO RESTAURANTS (or fish markets). I fear another photo of Cheney, but one way to help is to vote for a government that will require proper labeling of fish...

Mark Powell said...

Fish fraud is illegal right now! Selling tilapia as red snapper is illegal, but it happens because of lax enforcement. How do we vote for a government that will enforce existing laws against fish fraud? It's not a campaign issue.

The real problem is public complacency, we can't just vote and be done with it. We need to be more active every day, not just every four years.

Mark Powell said...

...and we'll save Cheney for the really big problems...