A study rocking the commercial fishing world suggests that at least 20 percent and as much as 32 percent of wild-caught imported fish are "illegally" caught, killed and sold into the U.S. market.
The report, published in the current issue of Marine Policy, says United States appetites are unwittingly funding illegal fishing practices by failing to recognize where and how fish are caught. The authors recommend that U.S. importers improve their ability to track the chain of custody of fish used as seafood.
The startling findings -- as many as one in three fish on your dinner plate may be illegal -- have sparked defensiveness.
"We do not agree with the statistics that are being highlighted in the report," said an official with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, blaming insufficient data for skewing the numbers.