Beel den Stormer Presents the Only Fishery Blog You Need

Fish, Fisheries and Queryomics

Mislabeled Seafood from a Certified Sustainable Fishery

A fall that only Beel could love.

Patagonian toothfish, AKA Chilean seabass. A face that only Beel could love.

The New York Times recently reported that mislabeling of fish was a widespread problem (article here).  Based on genetic analyses, 39 percent of nearly 150 samples of fresh seafood collected from 81 establishments in New York City had been mislabeled, according to researchers from the conservation group Oceana.

There is more, though.  Beel recently came across an interesting publication by Peter Marko and colleagues who performed similar genetic analyses on fish sold as Patagonian toothfish Dissostichus eleginoides, which is better known as the Chilean seabass.  Please friends, let Beel present some of the results of this important study.

Marko and colleagues collected samples of Chilean seabass that bore labels of certification by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) as being from a sustainable fishery.  There is only one such fishery for Chilean seabass: that which is prosecuted in the waters surrounding the sub-Antarctic island of South Georgia and the nearby plateau at Shag Rocks.

These authors compared the genetic profiles of fish known to be from the South Georgian fishery with those of fish they purchased.  They found:

  1. 3 of 36 samples (8%) were not even Chilean seabass, and
  2. of the 33 samples that were Chilean seabass, 5 (15%) were not from the South Georgian fishery.

Overall, this is a 24% fail rate, not tremendously different from the 39% reported by Oceana, given the small sample size.

The article by Marko and colleagues is available online.  Also, online is a response to the article by MSC, which states that all of the samples they have ever had tested were Chilean seabass and were from the South Georgian fishery.  Oh, what a surprise says Beel! 


P. B. Marko1 and colleagues.  2011. Genetic detection of mislabeled fish from a certified sustainable fishery. Current Biology, Volume 21, pages R621-R622.

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This entry was posted on January 10, 2013 by in Commentary, Conservation, Fishing and angling and tagged , , .
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