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Center for American Progress

RELEASE: Seafood Fraud Is an Environmental, Economic, and Public Health Risk, and Strong Executive Action Is Needed
Press Release

RELEASE: Seafood Fraud Is an Environmental, Economic, and Public Health Risk, and Strong Executive Action Is Needed

Washington, D.C. — With last month’s designation of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument, President Barack Obama has made ocean conservation a major component of his environmental legacy. He now has an opportunity to build on this momentum by focusing leadership and action on the other major ocean policy initiative announced at the State Department’s “Our Ocean” conference in June: tackling illegal fishing and seafood fraud, a major problem for U.S. seafood consumers and marine ecosystems.

The Center for American Progress released a column today that details how the current federal framework for enforcing the safety and legality of seafood sold in the United States is in urgent need of reform—and how the Obama administration can help protect public health and ensure the sustainability of ocean resources and U.S. fishermen’s livelihoods by following through with this vital initiative.

“Recent studies found that 30 percent of seafood subject to DNA analysis was a different species than what the labels told consumers they were buying,” said Michael Conathan, CAP Director of Ocean Policy and co-author of the column. “This means there’s a huge loophole allowing the laundering of illegally caught fish through the U.S. seafood supply, undercutting the earnings of law-abiding U.S. fishermen and putting American seafood consumers at risk. President Obama has already shown that protecting ocean ecosystems is a fundamental part of his agenda. Ensuring that the seafood Americans are buying is legal, sustainable, and safe will advance this goal and help it become a cornerstone of his environmental legacy.”

The column synthesizes data showing that the United States is awash in imports of seafood caught, farmed, or processed abroad and that oversight of these seafood products is grossly inadequate.

Click here to read the column.

For more information, please contact Tom Caiazza at 202.481.7141 or tcaiazza@americanprogress.org.