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Over 90% of the seafood consumed in the United States is imported from other countries. In 2009 alone, this resulted in 5.5 billion pounds of edible fishery products, valued at $14.8 billion dollars.
It's a large industry with a lot of moving parts, some of which arent working properly. A 2012 study by Oceana reported that less than 1% of imported seafood is inspected by the government for fraud. The result: in order to maximize profit, several species are mislabeled at various points throughout the supply chain, which means theres a good chance that the fish you think you're eating isn't that fish at all that cod isn't cod; that grouper isn't grouper; that tuna isn't tuna.
This can result in severely overpaying for fish at the supermarket and in restaurants. Consumption of fraudulent fish can result in illness. And, in some instances, eating the wrong species of fish could result in death.
In 2014, the U.S. Government tried to address the issue of seafood fraud. The Presidential Task Force on Combating IUU Fishing and Seafood Fraud was established, and in 2015 published its Action Plan for Implementing Task Force Recommendations, which proposed a seafood traceability program. This program, however, requires traceability for only 13 "at-risk" seafood species of the over 1,700 imported seafood species.
The result? Without thorough traceability, there are still gaping holes in the seafood import supply chain where fraud can occur. Oceana's most recent report found on average one in five of the more than 25,000 samples of seafood tested worldwide was mislabeled.
This isn't right. We must call upon the Seafood Inspection Program, and let them know that 13 "at-risk" species is far from enough, that in order to eliminate seafood fraud, traceability must extend to ALL species. Sign the petition so you're so safe in knowing that the fish you're about to eat is the fish you wanted to eat.
To the Director of the Seafood Inspection Program:
Living in the United States allows many privileges, one being that the country itself is the basis for large, meaningful exchanges of goods. I am grateful for this. I am grateful to be a consumer that has been granted the privilege of choice.
What's unacceptable is when I as a consumer make a choice, pay for that choice, and find out later that I'd been lied to all along, that what I chose to purchase wasnt ever the item I sought, that it wasnt ever the item I was told by advertisements, by labels I'd be purchasing.
As you're aware, this exact issue has been going on with the seafood our country imports and distributes across from coast to coast. Despite intervention from the U.S. Government, it continues to happen, and I can't stand for it any longer.
It is unacceptable that 20% of the seafood reaching our plates isnt the seafood we chose.
I write to you to today, requesting you to revise the Action Plan for Implementing Task Force Recommendations, wherein a rule exists to enforce proper traceability of only 13 species of "at risk" fish. Thirteen species simply isn't enough not when the U.S. regularly imports 1,700 different species of fish from countries across the globe.
As it is my right as a consumer to know what exactly I'm purchasing, I urge you to enforce thorough traceability of all species of fish entering the United States.Thank you,