We don’t always have to believe what we read on the labels of different products. This is the case of sustainable fish, such as the eco-labeled Chilean bass. Researchers handling this problem have found that not all of the fish have been MSC-labeled.
Chilean bass is actually MSC-labeled. MSC is the abbreviation for Marine Stewardship Council, and organization known for rewarding and recognizing sustainable fishing. In this case the MSC label should indicate that the fish has been harvested from the only recognized Chilean bass fishery.
According to the team, the fish that they have purchased belonged to an entirely different species that it should have. Of all the fish that has been analyzed, about 15% differed genetically from the ones collected from the certified fishery.
It is even more interesting that one of the found samples carried a haplotype that can only be found on the other part of the globe, in the Indian Ocean.
Other haplotypes that have been found belonged to fishes living in the South American waters, but some of them have never been recorded in previous genetic surveys.
All this means that other species have also been added to the supply chain of the MSC-certified Chilean bass. It is true that the researchers have been prepared for such findings but it is still shocking. There are a lot of people who have recognized the amount of income that can be generated through mislabeling in the seafood industry.
At the moment it isn’t entirely clear who is to blame for the mislabeling, because there are numerous people involved in the process starting with the catching of the fish and ending with the process that gets it labeled and shipped to its destination.
It is clear that different organizations such as the MSC are trying to guide the consumers towards those products that are made of sustainable harvested seafood, but at this moment it is very difficult to guarantee the geographical origins of the food. These organizations are working on different kinds of ways to verify the source of the food.
At the moment the only thing that the responsible consumers can do is to keep the Chilean sea bass out of their dinner menu, because according to the researchers of the study, on the plate the Chilean sea bass from South Georgia looks just like Chilean sea bass from any other part of the world.