Date of Award

Spring 5-19-2017

Degree Type

Thesis (Restricted access)

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Interdisciplinary Studies

First Advisor

Margaret McCoey


The United States has an enormous appetite for seafood. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration estimates that the U.S. is now the second-largest consumer of seafood worldwide, behind only China. The average American consumes over 15 pounds of seafood per year. U.S. commercial fisheries and domestic farm raised fish represent only a small portion of the seafood products on the market; over 90% of all seafood consumed in the United States is imported and valued at $34.3 billion annually. But, consumers may not be aware that seafood fraud is a prevalent and pernicious problem that has invaded the industry from the beginning to the end of the supply chain. Illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing, supply chain issues, and mislabeling of the product are several of the main issues facing the seafood industry today. Fraud in the seafood industry causes harm to fragile ecosystems, undermines the stability of fish populations, develops unfair economic advantages, and presents dangers to the consumers.

This paper identifies and examines the three major types of seafood fraud: product mislabeling and species substitution, illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing, and human trafficking and forced labor; and discusses the detrimental effects on the economy, the health of the consumer, and oceanic conservation issues. In addition, the report address the proposed solutions of traceability, government interventions, and industrial standard recommendations intended to combat seafood fraud. Recommendations are included for consumers who wishes to affect change on an individual level as well as promoting change through involvement with non-governmental organizations.