Shivji wasnt surprised at the findings, and said more could be done to track and test seafood as it makes its way from the water to the plate, but the agencies that are supposed to be doing it dont have the resources, so youre stuck, he said.
He suggested suppliers could pay for DNA testing, which costs about $200 for a sample the size of a fingernail, then provide a certificate.
I dont think you need to test every fillet, Shivji said. Do spot checks. If you do it on a larger scale, the cost comes down.
Bob Jones, executive director of the 300-member Southeastern Fisheries Association, says his organization works with state and federal agencies to make sure fish sold in Florida are properly identified, and accurately weighed and measured before they appear on consumers plates.
The health aspects, the economic aspects of selling you a fish you didnt ask for, that concerns us greatly, Jones said.
But Jones says current requirements of the FDA, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and others overseeing the seafood supply chain especially in the wake of 9/11 terrorism threats are adequate.
I find its mostly in the restaurants, Jones said. You get a seller that says, I can give you a fish that tastes as good as grouper for less money. We have no problem till he calls a catfish a grouper. We are very conscientious about what we do and how our members operate.
Carol Dover, president/CEO of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association, called seafood fraud in Florida completely unacceptable.
We fully support enforcement efforts requiring truthful labeling and representation of all seafood products, Dover wrote in an email. We urge not only our members but the entire industry to protect themselves and their customers by using only transparent and reputable seafood suppliers.