Seafood fraud or seafood mislabeling is a major issue effecting both national and global fisheries markets. As discussed in this previous blog post, “The topic of seafood labeling and mislabeling can be controversial, especially when seafood is intentionally mislabeled as a way to cut corners with costs or inflate prices.” From a sustainability standpoint, this is a hot button issue as well where under-regulated or protected fish can find their way onto shelves disguised as another species. In fact, this issue is so important that the President’s office of the United States has even created a task force specifically responsible for preventing illegal, unreported and unregulated seafood (IUU) from making its way onto the market. This task force released a report including several recommendations aimed at cracking down on seafood fraud back in 2014, which you can read more about in this previous blog post.
A group of Tampa-based scientists at PureMolecular, LLC are claiming they have developed a device that may help to halt seafood fraud in its tracks. The company is saying that this device is capable of genetically verifying if the identity of “the majority of fish labeled as ‘grouper’ from less valuable substitutes.” The machine is small and will cost only about $2,000. Results from the device take about 45 minutes. The group hopes to have the first models available by early summer. Conceivably, this model could be expanded to verify through genetics other kinds of fish species as well.
There is also more information available on the device and the larger issue of seafood fraud on the company’s website: www.puremolecular.com