From: Julie Rodriguez, Care2, More from this Affiliate
Published September 20, 2016 07:19 AM

You Could Be Eating Endangered Fish Without Even Realizing It

When you go out for sushi or visit a seafood restaurant, how sure can you be that you’re really getting what you’ve ordered? Last week, Oceana released some shocking findings: Around the world, an average of one in five samples of seafood is mislabeled.

The report examined 25,000 samples worldwide and reviewed more than 200 published studies from 55 different countries. Every continent was represented apart from Antarctica. The mislabeling was present in every part of the seafood supply chain, including retail, wholesale, distribution, import/export, packaging, processing, and landing.

That’s bad news for many reasons – mislabeling makes dining dangerous for consumers (not all of these species are considered suitable for human consumption), and difficult for people who are trying to avoid mercury exposure or who simply want to dine more sustainably. In most cases, cheap fish were being passed off as more expensive varieties.

But one of the most disturbing findings of the report was the fact that 16 percent of these samples were identified as endangered species. More than half the fish identified as substitutes have unknown population numbers, so that’s likely an underestimate.

For example, in Brazil, 55 percent of the samples sold as shark were actually largetooth sawfish, a critically endangered species that is banned for sale within the country. In Italy, 82 percent of grouper, perch and swordfish samples were mislabeled, with nearly half the actual species considered threatened by extinction by the IUCN. This isn’t a phenomenon limited to foreign countries, either: in Santa Monica, Calif., the “tuna” on the menu at one sushi restaurant turned out to actually be whale meat.

Continue reading at ENN affiliate, Care2.

Image credit: Nesnad via Wikimedia.

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