NFI blasts Oceana salmon mislabeling report


Sean Murphy, SeafoodSource online editor

Published on
October 29, 2015

The Washington-based National Fisheries Institute (NFI) has blasted a new report by environmental activist group Oceana on salmon mislabeling, claiming the organization did not investigate the issue thoroughly enough and is issuing advice that does not make sense.

“The problem with Oceana’s work is that it fails dramatically to provide and even understand the specifics that are needed to address this challenge,” wrote NFI Spokesman Gavin Gibbons.

The Oceana report is the result of DNA testing conducted on samples of salmon taken from stores and restaurants in the United States. The group’s report said more than 40 percent of the samples showed farmed Atlantic salmon was marketed incorrectly as wild salmon, which sells at a premium price, or that a lesser-expensive variety of salmon was sold under the label of a more expensive one.

Gibbons took particular issue with Oceana’s recommendations to address the mislabeling problem, such as requiring companies provide more information to consumers about the fish they are eating.

“More enforcement is needed, not new and different laws or regulatory requirements,” Gibbons wrote. “The rules and regulations are already on the books making seafood mislabeling illegal.”

Gibbons said NFI also objects to Oceana’s call for a “one name, one fish” designation to simplify naming systems for fish sold in the United States.

“This report is focused on Atlantic Salmon, as it is the item Oceana’s testing suggests is most often mislabeled,” he wrote. “It already has one name. There is one acceptable market name for Atlantic salmon, how else would they suggest we consistently name it?”

All NFI member companies are required to be a part of the Better Seafood Board, an anti-fish fraud group, and Gibbons said NFI and its members do take seafood mislabeling seriously.

“Let’s be clear, fraud is fraud. If wild salmon is what’s advertised that’s what you should get. There’s no question about it,” Gibbons wrote. “If there is evidence of fraudulent mislabeling, law enforcement should be involved. Cracking down on these types of practices is the only practical way to stop them.”

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