DNA Test Tracks ‘Imposter’ Sea Bass

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CLEMSON, S.C., Aug. 22 (UPI) — U.S. researchers say some certified Chilean sea bass sold in stores are not from fishing grounds certified as sustainable and some aren’t even Chilean sea bass.

A Clemson University biologist says DNA from fish purchased at retail outlets in eight states shows 8 percent of fish sampled were “actually other species,” and 15 percent had DNA variants not known from the South Georgia/Shag Rocks population, which is the only certified Chilean sea bass fishery.

The fishery is in the South Ocean between Antarctica and the southern tip of South America.

The findings raise questions about the integrity of the “chain of custody” for retail fish certified to be from sustainable fisheries , the researchers said.

“Our data point to a problem with the supply chain,” biologist Peter Marko said in a Clemson release Monday. “Fish are being sold that are improperly labeled. Where and how the uncertified fish reach market was not the focus of our research but are issues that deserve attention.”

That supply chain starts with the Marine Stewardship Council certifying that a location is a sustainable fishery, and ends with the labeling of fish in markets as sustainably harvested.

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