The Cove

Mislabeled Fish: What’s in your sushi?

As a new year begins, resolutions are normal to take-up. While many people vow to lose weight or to get a better grip on their finances, the new year can be a resolve to help preserve our oceans.


In The End of the Line, the impact of overfishing on the world’s oceans is revealed. The film examines the profound implications of a future world with no fish that would bring certain mass starvation, centering on the extinction of the Bluefin Tuna as well as the overpopulation of jellyfish in the oceans.

As reported in NPR’s eating and health blog The Salt, 3-out-of-5 retail outlets in New York City visited by the ocean conversation group Oceana were selling mislabeled fish. This includes 100 percent of sushi restaurants visited in the city.

“Oceana’s investigation focused on species substitution, or the swapping of a lower value or lower quality fish for a more desirable species,” said the group in a press release on its site. “This ‘bait and switch’ hurts our oceans, our health and rips off consumers. And most importantly, it is illegal.”

Seafood fraud can happen anywhere, as fish is a popular food in the United States, yet consumers are routinely given little or no information about the fish they consume.

REACT to The End of the Line:

ASK your restaurant where your fish comes from, making sure the fish you are being served is fresh and healthy to eat.

LEARN the path your fish takes to your plate. Sites like Fish2Fork have a database of restaurants, listing whether their seafood is sustainable.

CHANGE how we treat our oceans. Charities like the Blue Marine Foundation create flexible, case-by-case solutions to the marine crisis through public-private partnerships. 


Winner of Academy Award for Best Documentary in 2009, The Cove followed a team of activists, filmmakers and divers as they embarked on a covert mission to penetrate a remote cove in Taiji, Japan, to reveal the slaughter of local dolphins.

Last November, The New York Times reported that since last summer, six dead dolphins have washed ashore of the Gulf of Mexico with bullet wounds, severed fins and jaws, and stab wounds. The latest was a dolphin found off the coast of Mississippi with its lower jaw missing.

“These are senseless, repugnant acts,” said Moby Solangi, the executive director of the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies in Gulfport, Mississippi. “These dolphins are mutilated in a way that no animal is in the wild.”

Currently, a federal agent is now in charge of investigating the mysterious killing of dolphins and there is a $30,000 reward for catching those responsible.

REACT to The Cove: 

REPORT on illegal activity you see in the ocean through organizations such as the Eyes of the Reef Network.

INSPIRE others to save the oceans through activist groups such as the Oceanic Preservation Society.

BUY local food, using farmer’s market websites like Local Harvest to find one near you. Utilize your consumer power to let companies know your choices.

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