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How to avoid fish fraud at the supermarket

Searching out some seafood for dinner? You can't always trust the information on the supermarket label. Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your mackerel:

Buy the whole fish. Once they're skinned and filleted many fish look the same. To know exactly what you are getting consider buying whole fish with the skin and head on, look for bright clear eyes and shiny skin.

Smell it. The fish you're buying and the store you're getting it from shouldn't smell fishy. Fresh fish should smell like clean water and there should be no liquid on the fillets. 

Fresh is not always better. Many shoppers gravitate towards fresh fish at the supermarket, but the best quality seafood is often that which is flash-frozen on the boat minutes after being caught.  If you don't live near the coast, look for frozen fish that is vacuum-sealed. 

Ask about your fish. Find out from the retailer where your fish is from and how was it caught. This information can go a long way towards choosing quality fish and making sustainable seafood choices. If they can't tell you, go to a retailer that can.

Eco seal of approval? Eco-labels are a good start in selecting sustainable seafood, but there is not yet one universally accepted certification program. In Canada there are also no nation-wide standards for organic farmed seafood. To learn more about sustainable seafood, check out information provided by conservation groups such Ocean Wise or Seachoice. They have printable pocket guides and an online database to help you make more sustainable choices.