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letters | controversy over mislabeled fish

They’re serving substitutes for Atlantic cod because the real thing is so scarce

I was a commercial fisherman for more than 40 years, and mislabeling seafood is a big problem (“Accountability lost in murky supply chain,” Page A1, Dec. 2). Few codfish have been landed in New England this year, but “Atlantic cod” is somehow just as easy to find on dinner menus.

People are probably wondering why restaurants need to find a substitute for Atlantic cod, the fish that we’ve eaten for centuries. Let me put it plainly: Restaurants are selling mislabeled substitutes for Atlantic cod because fishermen can’t find the real thing.

From a former fisherman’s perspective, we should shut down the directed cod fishery so that the fish can reproduce and the population can rebuild. Massachusetts fishermen support legislation to end seafood fraud. But we also need to protect our codfish. Without abundant cod in the ocean, people are going to be stuck eating cheap substitute seafood products, whether they know it or not.


Fred Bennett