Oceana Canada’s latest report, Mystery Fish: Seafood Fraud in Canada and How to Stop It, and results from seafood testing in our nation’s capital reveal alarming levels of fraud. Almost half of Ottawa seafood samples tested—45 out of 98—were mislabelled.

An increasing amount of seafood is shipped from overseas—estimates suggest that up to 80 per cent of what is consumed in Canada may be imported. This seafood follows a complex path from a fishing vessel to our plate, with a risk of fraud and mislabelling at each step along the way.

Seafood fraud includes any dishonest activity that misrepresents the product being purchased, including the practice of substituting one type of fish for another. Species substitution includes selling cheaper, less desirable species as more expensive ones, mislabelling farmed products as wild-caught or selling black market fish as legally caught.

This “bait and switch” impacts public health and safety, cheats consumers, hurts honest, law-abiding fishers and seafood businesses and undermines the environmental and economic sustainability of Canada’s fisheries. It can even mask global human rights abuses by creating a market for illegally caught fish.

There is a solution: full boat-to-plate traceability, which means tracking fish through every step from the water to the consumer. Chefs, restaurant owners, seafood industry leaders and thousands of Canadians are joining Oceana Canada and calling on the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to make combatting seafood fraud a priority by tracing seafood from boat to plate.

Add your name to the petition. It’s time to stop seafood fraud so we can enjoy our seafood, knowing it is safe, honestly labelled and legally caught.

As part of our efforts to combat seafood fraud in Canada, Oceana Canada will be conducting independent seafood testing in restaurants and grocery stores across Canada.