You presumably expect to be given snapper if you order it at a restaurant. However, according to many reports over the past decade, there’s a good possibility you’ll receive a lower-value fish. A 2019 investigation done in the United States by the conservation group Oceana discovered that one in every five fish examined in restaurants and marketplaces was mislabeled.
Consumers may be paying double the amount for wild-caught salmon yet receiving farmed fish. Or they may believe they are eating fresh-off-the-boat lobster when it has been frozen for months. Now, a restaurant in Dubai is using technology to assist their clients to learn about the origins of their fish while they dine.
Combating seafood fraud:
Diners purchasing fish at Rockfish, an Italian restaurant on the seaside, are given a QR code with their order. The code directs customers to a website that tells them when and where their fish was caught, how it was transported, and offers the appropriate certificates to prove it was sourced responsibly.
The kitchen’s executive sous chef Marco Acquaroli says there is a lot of “fake product or fake naming” on menus around the world. “Here we are looking for freshness, quality, sustainability, and traceability.”
The restaurant collaborates with Seafood Souq, an online marketplace that links buyers and sellers of seafood from all over the world.
“Seafood is an industry that is wrought with not necessarily fraud but opacity or darkness within the supply chain,” says the company’s CEO and co-founder Sean Dennis.
“It is very difficult for buyers to know where they’re getting their seafood from,” he adds.
Because Seafood Souq tracks every point on the supply chain, Dennis says it can provide accurate data. “Traceability … really addresses the inefficiencies within the supply chain,” he says.
“We’re very happy now,” says Acquaroli. “Our guests (are) 100% sure where the fish was in the last 24 hours.”