Local fish isn’t always local
Even after winter storms left East Coast harbors thick with ice, some of the country’s top chefs and trendy restaurants were offering sushi-grade tuna supposedly pulled in fresh off the coast of Montauk, N.Y.
But it was just an illusion. No tuna was landing there. The fish had long since migrated to warmer waters.
In a global industry plagued by fraud and deceit, conscientious consumers are increasingly paying top dollar for what they believe is local, sustainably caught seafood. But even in this fastgrowing niche market, companies can hide behind murky supply chains that make it difficult to determine where any given fish comes from. That’s where national distributor Sea To Table stepped in, guaranteeing its products were wild and directly traceable to a U.S. dock — and sometimes the very boat that brought it in.
However, an Associated Press investigation found the company was linked to some of the same practices it vowed to fight. Preliminary DNA tests suggested some of its yellowfin tuna likely came from the other side of the world, and reporters traced the company’s supply chain to migrant fishermen in foreign waters who described labor abuses, poaching and the slaughter of sharks, whales and dolphins.
The New York-based distributor was also offering species in other parts of the country that were illegal to catch, out of season and farmed.
Surrounded by ice, commercial fishing boats are docked in their slips after more than a week's worth of frigid weather froze the harbor in Lake Montauk in Montauk, N.Y., on Jan. 7. Only a few commercial boats remain in Montauk harbor during the winter months fishing for species such as porgy, tilefish, monkfish and black sea bass.