« July 2009 Table of Contents
Editor's Note: Cheat, cheat never beat
By Fiona Robinson, Editor in Chief
July 01, 2009
Some readers may not be surprised to hear that fraud and
theft incidents tend to rise in a recession. Unfortunately, the
seafood industry is no stranger to fraud, regardless of
Who hasn't received a proposal letter from overseas offering
seafood at a price that seems too good to be true? Therein lies
the rub: If a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.
You should probably just walk away - or in this case delete the
e-mail in your inbox.
For some, that's a little too easy. This issue's Top Story,
The weighting game, discusses the challenges the industry faces
in dealing with fraud, an uphill battle that has gone largely
unchecked for decades.
As Associate Editor James Wright points out in the article,
the Food and Drug Administration won't be increasing import
inspections so it's up to the industry to start policing its
own - a tall order for an industry rife with fraud. The Better
Seafood Board, organized by National Fisheries Institute
members a few years ago to act as a watchdog agency, has
started to bring some of the seafood fraud issues to light.
It's good to see seafood companies have finally realized that
turning a blind eye to mislabeling, short weights or
transshipping, among other acts of product deception, can come
right back and hurt their bottom line.
The National Marine Fisheries Service Office of Law
Enforcement has made some progress when it comes to prosecuting
import fraud (see Five for fraud, p. 19). But it's largely up
to the industry to police species substitution and any other
product crimes. While the thought of that is definitely scary,
if something isn't done the cycle of illegal activities will
In the end, purchasing seafood comes back to trust. Do you
trust the e-mail coming from "Harry," which has a host of
typos, but an incredible price on sole fillets? If it makes you
reach for the delete key, you're probably headed in the right