A Really Big Fish Tale

Again and again
and again, studies have shown what we really should start assuming: You have no idea what fish you’re eating. Seafood is wildly, repeatedly, and intentionally mislabeled: In a recent study Conservation Magazine reports, a group of Stanford students bought 77 fillets of Pacific red snapper and sequenced their DNA to check the species. Now keep in mind that Pacific red snapper isn’t actually a fish: It’s an approved catch-all term for 13 different species of Pacific rockfish. But 60 percent of the fillets weren’t even any of those species.

The Conservation story is a wide-angled look at the problem and it makes a compelling case that the big problem here isn’t the
bait-and-switch being played on consumers. It’s that mislabeling makes
a mockery of the advice of pocket sustainable seafood guides and
blinds consumers to what’s really coming out of the oceans. With
perverse logic, mislabeling begets more mislabeling: “There exists a
fundamental mismatch between how consumers think of fish and how fish actually exist in the real world. Western consumers, accustomed to a limited pantheon of domestic-raised meats and poultries, seem to
expect that kind of uniformity in wild-caught fish.”

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