Fish fraud concerns are mounting

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 6th June 2016

Concerns over fish mislabeling have been raised again after allegations were made claiming a Melbourne fish and chip chain has been calling catfish from Vietnam, Dory.

The chain has said the allegations are untrue but it is not the first time fish retailer has been accused of selling mislabeled seafood in Australia.

Commonly mislabelled fish sold in Australia

Australian Food News has compiled a list of fish commonly mislabeled in Australia:

  • Catfish or Basa sold as Dory – Catfish, often from Asian countries like Vietnam, is sometimes labelled as Dory.
  • Stick Fish sold as Flathead – Flathead sold in Australia is sometimes in fact Stick Fish from South America. It can also be labelled “South American Flathead”.
  • Asian Sea Bass sold as Barramundi – Asian sea bass is sometimes sold in Australia as Barramundi. Concern has been expressed over this as Barramundi is an Aboriginal word and some local fishers worry Australians always think they are purchasing Australian fish when they buy Barramundi. There has been past accusations that at least 60 per cent of Australian sold Barramundi is in fact from Asia.
  • Crimson Snapper or Saddletail Snapper sold as Red Emperor – Sometimes Crimson Snapper or a Saddletail Snapper is incorrectly sold as Red Emperor, a fish from the northern parts of Western Australia the Northern Territory and Queensland.

Analysis – 2003 FSANZ report 

A survey conducted by Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) focused on Australian Barramundi, Red Empire and  Dhufish. However at that time, there may have been fewer sources of fish importation and the numbers are likely to have changed in the current market.

In any case, according to the 2003 FSANZ survey into fish identity only  76.8 per cent of samples were correctly labelled.