Looking for wild salmon? That may be a tall order at many restaurants, grocers.

A recently released report by Oceana suggests salmon mislabelling increases during the winter.

Brian Davies/The Register-Guard/AP/File
A chinook salmon at the McKenzie Hatchery, Sept. 23. Some 43 percent of farm raised salmon are mislabelled as wild, according to a survey released this month by the marine conservation organization Oceana.

Americans trying to avoid purchasing farm-raised salmon might need to look beyond restaurant menus and food packaging labels, especially during the winter months.

A recent report conducted by the ocean advocacy group Oceana found that 43 percent of 83 samples taken from restaurants and grocery stores in New York, Chicago, Virginia, and Washington, D.C., in 2014 were mislabelled, either marked “wild” when actually farm raised, or marked as an incorrect species.

These results contradict Oceana’s 2013 survey, that reported a low 7 percent salmon labelling error, amid 33 percent of seafood overall.

The difference? Seasonal availability of wild salmon, the researchers say. Packagers more frequently mark farm-raised salmon as wild when wild salmon are out of season, typically during the winter and early spring months, according to the latest report.

"Eat your salmon in season," Dr. Kimberly Warner, senior scientist at Oceana told USA Today. "Time of year makes such a big difference on whether salmon mislabeling is high or low."

“If it’s winter, and the menu offers ‘wild,’ ‘Pacific,’ or ‘Alaskan’ salmon, ask for more information, like the specific species,” wrote Patrick Mustain, Oceana Communications Manager in a blog post on Scientific American. “If the restaurant can’t provide that information, order something else, unless you’re okay with possibly eating mislabeled farmed salmon.”

Last year, Oceana also revealed that one out of every three shrimp sold in the US in mislabelled.

Besides potential environmental and health concerns, seafood mislabelling affects the economy and the livelihood of American fishing communities.

In June of last year, the Obama administration “set up a presidential task force aimed at corralling mislabeling in order to help consumers make more informed and ethical choices when it comes to seafood,” The Christian Science Monitor reported.

But these efforts have not yet yielded real results.

“The Obama administration should require documentation for all seafood to verify that it was legally caught, and also mandate traceability throughout the entire seafood supply chain, to protect seafood buyers, honest fishermen, seafood business and our oceans,” Beth Lowell, senior campaign director at Oceana told Scientific American.

Additionally, since well over half of US seafood is imported, ethical issues in the farming and catching of seafood in other countries is also worth noting.

For example, ‘whiteleg’ shrimp are often marketed as ‘wild Pacific,’ but often these shrimp are really coming from Southeast Asia, “where environmental and human rights experts have long identified labor rights abuses, hazardous working conditions, damage to ecosystems and the use of hormones and antibiotics,” reported the Monitor.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.
Real news can be honest, hopeful, credible, constructive.
What is the Monitor difference? Tackling the tough headlines – with humanity. Listening to sources – with respect. Seeing the story that others are missing by reporting what so often gets overlooked: the values that connect us. That’s Monitor reporting – news that changes how you see the world.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.

QR Code to Looking for wild salmon? That may be a tall order at many restaurants, grocers.
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today