A recent paper lead-authored by one of the Labelfish Consortium, Professor Stefano Mariani of the University of Salford, published in the journal Conservation Letters this month looks at the influence of media on illegal seafood practices. The paper (Mariani, S., Ellis, J., O’Reilly, A., Bréchon, A. L., Sacchi, C. and Miller, D. D. (2014), Mass media influence and the regulation of illegal practices in the seafood market. (Link: Conservation Letters. doi: 10.1111/conl.12085) looks at the fallout of high levels of publicity on mis-labeling in the Irish seafood market. In particular the work reflects on the initial, longer-term impact on such illegal practices. Please find the abstract to this very interesting paper below.
Following media exposure on the issue of seafood mislabeling in Ireland, results of repeated forensic testing of cod product labeling suggest that media attention played an important role in determining significant improvements in the supermarket retail sector, but had no detectable effect on “take-away” food services. Differences in the chains of production and in compliance requirements to European labeling laws may explain the divergent responses of the two sectors. The findings from this study indicate that it may be possible for mass media to occupy an influential role in fisheries and environmental management and policy, provided that (i) primary research findings are correctly reported by popular media and (ii) governmental agencies follow up the shortterm reaction to media exposure with appropriate enforcement measures.