google-site-verification: google420bc12b3aca5bd2.html

Is That Really Mahi-Mahi You’re Eating?

“DNA testing is now confirming anecdotal reports that seafood fraud is disturbingly widespread. Both scientists and amateur seafood sleuths have exposed seafood fraud across the U.S. and Europe. A recent review found false labels on more than one-third of fish (Jacquet and Pauly 2008), while other research found one-quarter of fish tested in the U.S. and Canada were mislabeled (Wong and Hanner 2008).”

This article is made up of excerpts taken from a report published by the Oceana group and the full 40-page, PDF-formatted report, can be seen at

“Government testing also shows a pattern of mislabeling, including 37 percent of fish and 13 percent of shellfish and other seafood during a nine-year period of testing by the National Marine Fisheries Service’s (NMFS) National Seafood Inspection Laboratory from 1988-1997 (Buck 2007). The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found about a third of seafood imports were mislabeled during port inspections in 2003-2004 (Mississippi Department of Marine Resources 2007).

Commonly mislabeled fish  (partial list)

LABELED                                                                      ACTUAL
Mahi Mahi                                                                        Yellowtail
Wild Salmon                                                                  Farm raised
Swordfish                                                                        Mako shark
Bluefin Tuna                                                             Bigeye, yellowfin
Albacore/White Tuna                                 Mozambique tilapia, Escolar
Atlantic Cod                                                 Pollock, Whiting, Oilfish/Escolar
Shark Meat                                                                        Nile Perch
Orange Roughy                                                   Oreo Dorey, John Dorey
Monkfish                                                                             Puffer fish
Halibut                                                             Sea Bass, Deep water Cape Hake
Anchovies                                                                             Icefish

“Eating unfamiliar or misidentified fish can expose consumers to new risks that formerly were confined to specific geographic areas, such as ciguatera poisoning from tropical fish, which causes chronic pain, nausea, weakness and numbness (Kipping et al. 2006).”

“At the beach or in coastal cities, local fish markets and restaurants increasingly struggle to maintain a year-round supply of the most popular fish. The lack of local seafood is often worsened by overfishing and by a lack of awareness among consumers that fish catches are seasonal. In markets where local fish are desirable, imports may be claimed as local fish to fill gaps in availability, increase sales or charge a higher price.”

This is especially tragic in areas like Hawaii, where residents have adopted catch and release for fishes like the popular ulua (jack crevalle) due to fears of ciguatera poisoning.  So, to consciously avoid this problem, only to possibly get exposed because of the practice of illegally mislabeling fish that are sold in stores just seems so totally wrong!  To make matters worse, Hawaii is a high risk location for the practice of mislabeling due to its ocean-side location, making people seek out “fresh seafood” even more.

So, if there ever was a good reason to visit Chinatown and buy your fish, fresh and intact (which makes identifying your fish much easier than trying to identify some innocuous fillet at the supermarket, this is it!   Just thought I’d share this disturbing news, which applies where ever you may live.


Fare Buzz

No Comments »

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a Reply

The owner of this website, Randy Yanagawa, is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking My Hawaii Food Fun to Amazon properties including, but not limited to,,,,, or