Some fish labels misleading, says Which?
Which? says that some labels on fish sold in UK supermarkets are misleading
UK consumer magazine Which? has said that some of the labels on fish sold in supermarkets are misleading and shoppers often aren't given the information they need to buy sustainably.
Over three-quarters of 1,995 UK adults surveyed in February 2012 said that they want to know if their fish is sustainable.
Which? says that many brands and retailers label their tinned tuna 'dolphin friendly', but it's usually irrelevant, as most tinned tuna is skipjack, which do not swim with dolphins. It's only an issue for yellowfin tuna from the Eastern Pacific, where the two species swim together.
Whole and filleted fish in the EC must be labelled with the fish's commercial name, whether it's farmed or wild and the area it was caught. Information on the specific area the fish occupies or the method of catch are not required - but these details tell the consumer if it's sustainable or not.
Which? found that the pre-packed cod was labelled as from the North East Atlantic. But parts of this are overfished, so the magazine advises that unless the cod is also labelled MSC-certified consumers are not able to tell if it's sustainable.
With regards to tuna, some supermarket and branded tinned tuna carrying the 'dolphin friendly' logo is caught using purse seines and FADs, which can result in other species being caught. The logo also does not consider whether tuna is from overexploited stocks.
Which? says that labelling has improved since the magazine last looked at fish sustainability two years ago. But some products still don't carry enough information to allow consumers to make sustainable choices.
Which? would like retailers and brands to use consistent and reliable certification schemes, such as the Marine Stewardship Council and the recently launched Aquaculture Stewardship Council scheme for farmed fish, to help shoppers recognise sustainable products at a glance.
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