Types of Fraud
- Substation — Once fish is filleted and skinned, its species can be difficult to determine. Some sellers take advantage of this and substitute a low-valued species for a more expensive one.
- Short-Weight — When processors misrepresent the weight of a seafood product through practices such as over-glazing, soaking, and breading. When a processor uses excess ice (over-glazing) or additives (soaking) and includes that weight with the net weight of the seafood, that's fraud. Consumers should pay for the weight of the seafood alone. Short-weighting charges consumers more for less seafood.
- Mislabeling — Seafood can be mislabeled in addition to the species name—such as the country of origin—to avoid regulations and fees, or even to sneak illegally caught fish into the supply chain. This can occur through:
1. Transshipping—when seafood products are exported through different countries to avoid duties and tariffs.
2. At-sea transfers—when illegal fishing vessels transfer their catch to cargo vessels carrying legitimately caught seafood.
3. Falsifying trade documents.
(Mislabeling seafood and concealing illegally caught fish evades inspection fees, permits, and other business costs that affect the price of responsibly caught seafood.)
Always buy seafood from knowledgeable, reputable dealers—those you trust with a known record of proper handling practices.
Fresh, quality seafood should smell like the ocean, not sour or fishy.
Look for seafood that is properly iced and/or frozen.