'Fish Fraud' Lower In Seattle And Portland

Feb 21, 2013

Seattle and Portland are among the best cities in the country to buy fish that is accurately labeled. That's according to a new report by a marine conservation group.

Seafood displayed at Seattle's Pike Place Market.
Credit Daniel Schwen / Wikimedia Commons

Oceana tested DNA samples from more than 1,000 fish purchased around the country at restaurants and markets. It found that 33 percent of those fish were mislabeled as the wrong species.

Eighteen percent of Seattle's fish was misidentified. At that rate, Seattle tied with Boston for the most accurate labeling among the 14 cities studied.

Twenty-one percent of the fish bought in Portland was mislabeled.

Scientist Kim Warner was the report’s author. She says the biggest reason for fish fraud is economic.

"There’s many opportunities in a very murky supply chain to slip in illegally or unregulated catch, or change the name to make a profit or to avoid tariffs at the border," Warner says. 

Warner says consumer awareness about seafood in Seattle may account for the city's low rate of mislabeled fish.

Copyright 2013 Oregon Public Broadcasting