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Fish out of water: consumers' unfamiliarity with the appearance of commercial fish species

Cusa, M, Falcao, L, De Jesus, J, Biolatti, C, Blondeel, L, Bracken, FSA, Devriese, L, Garces-Pastor, S, Minoudi, S, Gubili, C, Acutis, PL and Mariani, S (2021) Fish out of water: consumers' unfamiliarity with the appearance of commercial fish species. Sustainability Science, 16 (4). pp. 1313-1322. ISSN 1862-4065

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Open Access URL: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11625-021-00932-z (Published version)


Seafood labels play an increasingly key role in assisting consumers in purchasing processed and featureless fish products, and in encouraging sustainable fishing and aquaculture practices. While informed purchasing choices are typically influenced by traceability and labelling awareness, they also depend on the consumers’ ability to identify and discriminate the fish species available on the market, which to date remains notably unexplored. We asked 720 people across six European countries to identify pictures of six fish species commonly sold in Europe. We reveal that European consumers have a poor understanding of the appearance of the fish they consume (overall ∼ 30% correct identification), with British consumers performing the poorest and Spanish ones doing best. We noted cultural association with some species, whereby the most regionally consumed fish are more easily recognized. We argue that despite recent improvements in technological solutions, stakeholder dialogue, and policy implementation, seafood market transparency will remain open to malpractice until consumers restore connection with their food.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Science & Technology; Life Sciences & Biomedicine; Green & Sustainable Science & Technology; Environmental Sciences; Science & Technology - Other Topics; Environmental Sciences & Ecology; Sustainable fishing; Seafood traceability; Mislabeling; Environmental awareness; Food literacy; Marine conservation; Environmental Sciences
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history
Q Science > QL Zoology
S Agriculture > SH Aquaculture. Fisheries. Angling
Divisions: Biological & Environmental Sciences (from Sep 19)
Publisher: Springer Verlag (Germany)
SWORD Depositor: A Symplectic
Date Deposited: 24 Nov 2022 11:14
Last Modified: 24 Nov 2022 11:14
DOI or ID number: 10.1007/s11625-021-00932-z
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/18191
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