Posts Tagged ‘fish ID’

Despite what a lot of people might think, all fish don’t look alike, and it doesn’t take an expert like Dr. Franklin to tell them apart. That’s why he and FCEC put together a training session in late August to help market inspectors learn to quickly and accurately identify a local hazardous fish: the white croaker. Over the course of 3 hours, the presenters and the inspectors went over the basic history and aims of the various monitoring, enforcement and education programs, the health effects that make identifying contaminated fish so important and a 4-step comparison process to identify the white croaker.

At the end of the morning, much to the group’s excitement, Dr. Franklin tested their training by asking them to identify fresh fish specimen he had brought with him. The results didn’t disappoint. After the session ended, many of the participants expressed their gratitude to the program. “Wish all Environmental Health inspectors could be attending this training!” said one attendee. And in a way you can all attend. Take a look at our slideshow below and see what you can learn about identifying white croaker. Then let us know how you are able to tell a healthy fish apart from a contaminated one.

How many different types of fish would you be able to identify in a blind taste test? While it may sound like an episode of Man V. Food, this culinary challenge is actually a serious financial and health concern for the FDA, restaurateurs and you!

Once a catch has been cut, processed, cooked and served, it can be difficult for even the most trained eye—and sometimes palette—to be able to identify the species. For some unscrupulous marketplace sellers this can lead to “seafood substitution,” where one type of fish, usually of poorer quality, is mislabeled and sold as a premium product. This practice, a violation of federal law, not only cheats buyers and diners out of the product they are expecting but can also expose them to toxins found in lower grade fish species. In an even sadder turn, endangered species can be passed off as commercial catches.

To face this seafood mislabeling issue, The Barcode of Life has developed a new technology, officially approved by the FDA this Fall, that is able to scan a fish protein and identify it by comparing short strings of DNA just like a grocery store checkout scanner reads a barcode! Since 2003, The Barcode of Life, has built up a DNA database of more than 167,000 species and hopes to have 5 million cataloged by 2015. This technology could be used to identify 500,000 species and prevent mislabeling. That means when your date orders the lobster, you won’t be paying for monkfish, or even worse, buying monkfish and actually eating toxic pufferfish which caused several people to become sick in 2007. Since seafood is one of the most highly traded commodities in the world, there is a big movement to make the DNA barcoding of seafood a standard industry practice. The more widely applied this technology becomes consumers can enjoy their fish without wondering what that fish actually is.

Have you ever had a seafood experience that was a bit too fishy for your taste? If you have, tell us about it and let others know about this issue!


*Photo courtesy of Greenpeace.


It’s a fish off! That’s right, FCEC invites you to the 20th Annual Seal Beach Fishing Derby for kids that will take place this Saturday, August 27th at the local pier in Seal Beach. Registration will take place at the pier between 7:00-9:00am and the derby will begin at 7:30am and run until 12:00pm. Free refreshments will also be provided!

The Rotary Club of Los Alamitos/Seal Beach is coordinating the event and FCEC partner Montrose Settlements Restoration Program (MSRP) is providing funding for fish contamination education to the youth participating in the derby.

The FREE event is open to all youth up to the age of fifteen years old. Bring your favorite rod and reel, loaners and free bait will also be available! The derby is catch and release and qualifying fish will be weighed once they are reeled in.

The youth involved will not only have fun but will leave having had great first-hand experience in fish identification! After the fish are caught, derby participants will use the sign on the pier to determine whether the fish they hooked are safe to eat or qualify for the tournament.

Kids will be given educational materials on fish contamination and reusable bags to take home with them. The young anglers will also be given a photo of them participating in the derby!

So bring out the kids to have some educational fun at the 20th Annual Seal Beach Fishing Derby!


*Photo courtesy of BD Outdoors