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Science AMA Series: I’m Christine Stawitz, a PhD candidate at the University of Washington, Seattle, I recently published a study that found up to 30 percent of seafood served in restaurants and sold in supermarkets is actually something else, AMA!
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Thanks all for the great questions. We’ll be signing off in a few minutes (4:45 PST), but please look out for the full manuscript - it should be online and open access for all soon! I’m Christine Stawitz, and I study fishery management and population dynamics at the University of Washington. (More about that at: http://students.washington.edu/cstawitz/) I’d like to talk about a recent publication of mine, “Financial and Ecological Implications of Global Seafood Mislabeling”, in which I, with my co-authors, try to quantify how seafood mislabeling affects the conservation status and value of finfish seafood that people consume. In this study, we found that substituted seafoods were of slightly lower value (-2.98% ex-vessel price), but of a slightly higher conservation status (+9.51% IUCN status) than items they were labeled as. However, there’s a lot of heterogeneity across types of finfish. For example, items substituted for skipjack tuna and dolphinfish are actually of higher value than these fish themselves. This suggests mislabeling has benefits for consumers, financially. In contrast, items substituted for red snapper, hake, eel, smooth-hound shark, and croaker are of lower conservation status than the items themselves. I’ve noticed the paper getting a lot of attention on r/science and want to clear up some of the detail of the findings. I will be back at 6 pm EDT to answer your questions, ask me anything!