Traceability: Perhaps the Best Reason to Encourage North American Aquaculture

When I hear my friends in the marine conservation world justify their opposition to aquaculture in terms of risk to health and the environment, it is all I can do to keep from shouting: “The things you fear are already happening — most of the world’s aquaculture has been driven by economic and policy considerations to parts of the world with the least transparency!” Concerns about health and the environment may be the best reason to SUPPORT a robust, sustainable U.S. and Canadian aquaculture industry.

The U.S. imports 85% of its seafood, most of it farmed in less-regulated areas of Asia and Latin America, and very little of which is inspected before entering U.S. markets.  Despite growing concerns about food traceability and safety, recent studies have found that seafood may be mislabeled as often as 25 to 70% of the time for commonly-swapped species like red snapper, wild salmon and Atlantic cod, disguising species that are less desirable, cheaper or more readily available.  In a report published last yearOceana  found high levels of mislabeling across the country.

The sad truth is, we will never know what we are eating when it comes to seafood until economic pressure is placed on seafood producers to provide maximum transparency. What better place to begin producing highly traceable seafood than in the countries that consume most of the stuff?

 

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