National Fisherman

Mixed Catch 

jerryJerry Fraser is NF's publisher and former editor.



It's bad enough that the vast majority of seafood consumed in this country is imported. But what's worse is that it seems harder to know whether the fish you buy at the supermarket or order at the restaurant is actually the species listed.

Just last week, the Miami Herald published an opinion piece by Bob Jones, executive director of the Southeastern Fisheries Association, regarding the problem. "Seafood industry experts believe at least 20 million consumers are ripped off each year through the illegal practice of seafood product substitution known as bait and switch," Jones wrote.

Jones mentioned how a couple of investigative reporters from the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times randomly purchase grouper sandwiches and red snapper dinners from 11 Tampa Bay-area restaurants, sent samples off to a New York laboratory for testing, only to find out that six of the 11 purchases turned out to be imported pond-raised catfish or tilapia or other species.

Here we have an industry that's been trying for years to make seafood more of a staple of American consumers. It's a great product, full of nutritional benefits and tasty to boot. We've seen creative marketing programs that are working to get seafood on the dinner table more often. It's a shame that these seafood switcheroos can undermine consumer confidence in such a worthy product.

Inside the Industry

NMFS recently released a draft action plan for fish discard and release mortality science, creating a list of actions that they hope can better inform fisheries.

We know that fishermen have to deal with bycatch by discarding or releasing unwanted catch overboard, but there is a data gap regarding how those fish survive.


A new study has identified a set of features common to all ocean ecosystems that provide a visual diagnosis of the health of the underwater environment coastal communities rely on.

Together, the features detail cumulative effects of threats -- such as overfishing, pollution, and invasive species,  allowing responders to act faster to increase ocean resiliency and sustainability.

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