Consequences of Seafood Mislabeling for Marine Populations and Fisheries Management
This article provides evidence that enabling conditions exist for seafood mislabeling in the United States to lead to negative impacts on marine populations and support consumption of products from poorly managed fisheries.
Over the past decade, seafood mislabeling has been increasingly documented, raising public concern over the identity, safety, and sustainability of seafood. Negative outcomes from seafood mislabeling are suspected to be substantial and pervasive as seafood is the world’s most highly traded food commodity. Here we provide empirical systems-level evidence that enabling conditions exist for seafood mislabeling in the United States (US) to lead to negative impacts on marine populations and support consumption of products from poorly managed fisheries. Using trade, production, and mislabeling data, we determine that substituted products are more likely to be imported than the product listed on the label. We also estimate that about 60% of US mislabeled apparent consumption associated with the established pairs involves products that are exclusively wild caught. We use these wild-caught pairs to explore population and management consequences of mislabeling. We find that, compared to the product on the label, substituted products come from fisheries with less healthy stocks and greater impacts of fishing on other species. Additionally, substituted products are from fisheries with less effective management and with management policies less likely to mitigate impacts of fishing on habitats and ecosystems compared with the label product. While we provide systematic evidence of environmental impacts from food fraud, our results also highlight the current challenges with production, trade, and mislabeling data, which increase the uncertainty surrounding seafood mislabeling consequences. More integrated, holistic, and collaborative approaches are needed to understand mislabeling impacts and design interventions to minimize mislabeling.
Gloria M. Luque
Jessica A. Gephart
Sunny L. Jardine
Katrina Chicojay Moore
Andrew Steinkruger is Andrew Steinkruger is a Research Analyst to the VALUABLES Consortium, a cooperative agreement between RFF and NASA.
C. Josh Donlan
Resources Magazine — Oct 22, 2020
Dismantling Dams Can Help Address US Infrastructure Problems
If repairing hazardous dams can help prevent catastrophic destruction, but removing them is a more cost-effective option with environmental benefits—then, why is dam removal so rare?
Journal Article — Aug 9, 2019
Classifying fishing behavioral diversity using high-frequency movement data
An approach to effective fisheries management where “big data” routinely collected by many fisheries agencies can be used in a data-driven framework to classify fishers into discrete behavioral types.
Working Paper — Apr 18, 2019
What is a Fish Out of Water? The Economics Behind the Joint Management of Water Resources and Aquatic Species in the United States
This paper reviews the economics literature on management problems involving linked water resources and aquatic species.