Target: Dr. Robert M. Califf, Chairman of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
Goal: Make it harder for seafood companies to intentionally mislabel endangered fish and sell it as seafood.
Nearly 28 percent of the world’s seafood is labeled incorrectly and this is having a devastating effect on the ocean’s endangered fish species, according to a new study by Oceana, a marine conservation group. Endangered fish accidentally swept up in fishermen’s nets, known as bycatch, or simply endangered fish caught illegally, are being sold in marketplaces around the world, including in America.
This poses several health risks. The species mislabeled, according to the study, can carry parasites, toxins, and chemicals. The danger is increased for consumers who may be allergic to certain seafood. When eating seafood, the consumer has no idea what exactly may be on his or her plate. Someone who ordered tuna may actually be eating whale, as was the case in one American sushi restaurant.
However, endangered species are also being brought closer to extinction due to this fraudulent practice. Among the most commonly mislabeled were snapper, grouper, and salmon. In reality, these fish were perhaps more threatened species like the endangered speckled hind. Likewise, some of the snapper species being sold in marketplaces and seafood restaurants were actually classified as endangered.
This fraudulent practice undertaken by fishermen and abetted by some seafood distributors and restaurants is damaging to both human health and the environment. Sign the petition to ask the FDA to enact tougher regulations, as well as tougher punishments, for food companies caught knowingly mislabeling endangered species of fish.
Dear Dr. Califf,
In a recent study by Oceana, a conservation group, researchers found that nearly 28 percent of seafood is intentionally mislabeled. This fraudulent practice is harmful for several reasons. Consumers have no idea what kind of seafood they are consuming. Many of the fish found in the study, like escolar, carry harmful levels of toxins. Consumers have a right to know what they are putting into their bodies.
The environment is also being harmed. Many of the fish found being passed off as tuna and salmon are actually endangered species of fish. They are illegally caught on purpose or accidentally caught as bycatch, yet are sold in the market. Our ocean is already in danger. This practice only damages it more.
I ask you and the FDA to take action to enact tougher regulations on fishermen and the seafood industry to ensure that seafood is never intentionally mislabeled and to hold those who engage in such fraud accountable.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Vera Kratochvil