Seafood Fraud

© OCEANA/Carlos Minguell. Cod in a fish market in Denmark

Seafood fraud is a widespread problem across Europe. The most common form of seafood fraud is seafood mislabeling, whereby one species is replaced with another cheaper species when sold to the consumer. Even though seafood is such a popular food, many people do not know what they are really eating.

In a recent study carried out in Copenhagen, Denmark by Oceana, the Danish newspaper Søndagsavisen and the TV program “Go’Aften Danmark’, 120 samples of cod were collected from fishmongers, restaurants and supermarkets all over the city. Through DNA analysis, it was revealed that 18% of the cod sold in fishmongers was not actually cod, but haddock or saithe, which both have a cheaper market price.

Seafood fraud is harmful to the environment, rips off the consumer and undermines conservation efforts by supporting unsustainable fishing activities. It can take place anywhere along the broad supply-chain, from the fishermen, to the wholesalers and distributors. The problem is caused by poor traceability systems and a lack of regulations in European countries, which enable fraudulent practices on seafood to slip through.

Check out our factsheet to learn more