Fishy Findings: Study says 33 percent of fish sold are mislabeled

EUGENE, Ore. -- The fish on your plate... May not be the same as what's on the label.

A recent study found that about a third of fish purchased were mislabeled in the store.

The study, conducted over a two-year period by the environmental group Oceana, took over 1,000 different samples of fish from across the country.

After testing the DNA of those samples, they found about 33 percent were mislabeled according to the FDA’s guidelines. 

Oceana said one of the most common types of fraudulent fish were those sold as snapper and tuna.

Newman's Fish Company owner Dwight Collins said there are some easy tips for people to use to avoid buying mislabeled fish.

“Just ask questions. Ask where the fish is from and ask the freshness, and if it's a local fish. Get the story behind it,” Collins said.

Customers at Newman’s said asking questions at the counter helps them pick the perfect fish.

“I might say 'this species versus this species. What's the taste difference?’ … the amount of oil. They're really helpful here!” said Lyn Gillman-Garrick.

For Collins, the old saying of “There’s plenty of fish in the sea” holds true. 

With thousands of types of fish being sold at markets,  he said there is a lot of information that doesn't get passed down the line.

Collins also said that there are plenty of other ways people can discern between different types of the same species of fish. For instance texture, color and size are key factors in discerning between types of fish. 

Oceana said that one reason mislabeling has increased is because the U.S. imports 90 percent of its seafood from other countries. Of that imported fish, less than one percent is inspected for fraud.