Fish Fraud: If You’re Still Eating Fish, This Will Probably Make You Say WTF

According to a recent Mother Jones article, a report by Oceana found that out of 200 fish samples from 55 different countries, only one was accurately labeled.

That’s right — you probably aren’t eating the fish you thought you were! And if you think there’s no problem with that, think again. Fraudulent labeling can pose a risk to your health. Fish full of mercury, for instance, might be subbed for another variety unbeknown to you.

The report found the average rate of fish fraud in the United States to be 28 percent, and in cases where one species of fish was substituted for another, more than half posed a health risk to consumers. Oceana also found that 65 percent of the studies it reviewed showed clear evidence of economic motivation for mislabeling seafood.

By intentionally mislabeling fish to cut corners, the industry is placing lives at risk. Researchers at the University of California, Davis School of Veterinary Medicine found that a whopping 25 percent of fish tested had plastic in their guts. This means people who eat fish ingest toxic plastic.

Not only is mislabeling fish terrible for consumers; fishing itself is also horrible for fish and other marine life. The fishing industry is responsible for destruction of vital aquatic ecosystems and irreversible damage to populations of all forms of ocean life.

An article by The National Journal estimates that about 20 percent of all fish caught by commercial fisheries is “by-catch,” or unwanted animals, swept up in massive trawling nets along with the targeted species. This means that whales, dolphins, sea turtles, sharks, and other marine life are caught and typically die.

Regardless of their labels, all fish deserve compassion. From facial recognition to developed communication skills, fish are intelligent beings. Additionally, they are capable of feeling pain. Scientists worldwide have demonstrated that fish not only feel pain but are also aware of it and can suffer. Fish even feel pleasure in ways similar to dogs, cats, and other animals.

The best thing we can do to remove our support from the cruel and deceiving fishing industry is to leave fish off our plates.

Click here for compassionate sea-inspired recipes.

For more information on transitioning to a kind vegan diet, visit