Why seafood names matter | Oceana Canada

Seafood Fraud and Mislabelling Across Canada

Seafood Fraud and Mislabelling Across Canada

La Fraude Des Fruits De Mer et L'étiquetage Trompeur au Canada

Why seafood names matter

ONE NAME, ONE FISH: WHY SEAFOOD NAMES MATTER

Why seafood matters

In Canada, the only information required on seafood labels is a generic marketplace name and the country where the seafood product was last processed. Naming protocols, which are based on CFIA’s Fish List, allow many different species to be listed under the same common name. The use of ambiguous names for seafood sold in Canada can lead to confusion and undesired consequences. For example, more than 200 species can be listed as snapper, more than 100 as rockfish, 125 as crab, 40 as shrimp, 21 as sole and 14 as tuna.30 Those different species may have different prices, conservation statuses or health risks. Vague labelling rules therefore potentially cheat consumers, risk harming their health or make them unwitting accessories to the consumption of unsustainable or even illegal fish.

In contrast, the Latin scientific name provides a unique identifier for every species. It is universally recognized, regardless of language, and is already used on many regulatory documents around the world.

Currently, the European Union requires all unprocessed fishery products sold in stores and online to be labelled with the scientific name, as well as other information on where and how it was caught.

Requiring that the species-specific name of every seafood product accompanies the product from boat to plate would make it easier to prevent and deter seafood fraud. Additionally, making species-specific names available at the point of sale, along with production method, gear type and geographic origin, would let consumers make more informed seafood choices based on their preferences, whether that be taste, sustainability, health or other factors.

MORE THAN 200 SPECIES CAN BE LISTED AS SNAPPER, MORE THAN 100 AS ROCKFISH, 125 AS CRAB, 40 AS SHRIMP, 21 AS SOLE AND 14 AS TUNA

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