BRUSSELS – A report released today by OCEAN2012 reveals that in response to stock depletion by overfishing, inferior fish are being marketed and even mislabelled as more valuable, rarer, species.
“A great fraud is being committed on an unsuspecting public, fish is being mislabelled and passed off as more expensive or even sustainably caught species”, said Markus Knigge, spokesperson for OCEAN2012. “Our demand for seafood is growing as the availability of locally caught fish is declining because of overfishing. So more and more cheaper imported fish are flooding European markets, often being sold fraudulently.
An average 15 percent annual increase in consumption of fish products is creating an ever greater shortfall in supply of wild fish which is made up by fish caught by EU vessels in distant waters, aquaculture and imported fish. Pressure on the fishing, processing and retail sector to find new sources of fish and to keep making profits is creating the incentive to mislabel cheaper fish and sell them as more expensive species. This is made easier by the fact that most consumers cannot identify different species.
“The EU has the largest and some of the richest fishing grounds in the world but we have failed to manage them responsibly. Consumers have the responsibility of choosing carefully what they eat, and encouraging politicians to make those decisions to stop overfishing”.
The report found: