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Title: Vague labelling laws and outdated fish naming lists undermine seafood market transparency in Canada.
Authors: Cawthorn, Donna-Maree.
School of Biology and Environmental Sciences
Keywords: CFIA.;DNA barcoding.;Flatfishes.;Pleuronectiformes.;Traceability.;Trade.
Issue Date: 2020
Publisher: Elsevier
Abstract: Despite the expressed interest of Canadians in sustainable and comprehensively labelled seafood, the country’s seafood labelling requirements remain scant and naming conventions in the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) ‘fish list’ allow the grouping of multiple species under single ‘umbrella’ terms. Here, we test the extent to which CFIA listings reflect current market availability and conceal biodiversity, using the flatfishes as a model. Accordingly, we compared CFIA-listed flatfish species with those documented in Canadian import records, those in production records of Canada and its flatfish suppliers, as well as those identified in DNA-based market surveys conducted across Canada. Of the 43 flatfish species on the CFIA list, only three have consistently shown up in Canadian imports, production records and market surveys, whereas almost a third (n = 15) failed to appear in any of the latter over at least a decade. Species have been detected on the market that are absent from this list, while overfished and/or threatened taxa have been found concealed under vague generic terms. The list’s many superfluous inclusions, outdated names, missing species and poor correspondence with trading partner’s naming conventions are inconsistent with the legal tenets of Canadian policy to uphold fair market practices and consumer choice, and instead result in a system inundated by numerous paths of misinterpretation, misclassification and substitution. Moreover, Canada’s official flatfish trade statistics lack sufficient taxonomic granularity to elucidate all species involved and track flatfish trade flows. Illuminating these loopholes should compel improvements in Canadian seafood labelling and traceability legislative frameworks.
Description: Please note that only UMP researchers are shown in the metadata. To access the co-authors, please view the full text.
DOI: 10.1016/j.marpol.2020.104335
Appears in Collections:Journal articles

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