In 2019, the Canadian government committed to tackling seafood fraud. Almost two years later, it’s still a problem.
Oceana Canada’s latest seafood fraud investigation, part of the most comprehensive, national, multi-year DNA seafood testing study undertaken in Canada, revealed that 46 per cent of seafood samples tested in restaurants and grocery stores in four major Canadian cities were mislabelled. These results demonstrate yet again that Canada has a seafood fraud problem, putting Canadians, honest fishers, ocean ecosystems and our seafood economy at risk.
Canadians overwhelmingly support seafood traceability and want the government to act. In fact, recent polling revealed that 87 per cent of Canadians are concerned about purchasing seafood that is mislabelled, up from 76 per cent in 2020, and 86 per cent are concerned about the government’s failure to address seafood mislabelling and illegal fishing in Canada.
The government’s 2019 commitment to implement boat-to-plate traceability systems was a huge step in the right direction – a commitment that, once implemented, could bring Canada more in line with widely accepted global best practices for ensuring more transparent seafood supply chains. However, nearly two years later, the government has failed to put forward a plan or timeline. Until this happens, Canadians have no guarantee that the seafood they eat is safe, legally caught or honestly labelled.
As other parts of the world strengthen existing traceability systems or develop new ones, Canada falls even further behind. Regions like the U.S., the EU and Japan have more strict labeling requirements than Canada and serve as example systems to look to when creating a traceability system here in Canada. We know that effective, boat-to-plate traceability systems are possible, and with the results of our latest report, the situation is clear: seafood mislabelling is still a problem across Canada.
Join us and sign the petition calling on the government to act now on its commitment by developing a boat-to-plate seafood traceability system that is mandatory, comprehensive, harmonizes with our trading partners and meets global best practices.
It’s time to stop seafood fraud.