“If they’re selling a frozen cod,” he said, “they won’t get away with it.” A strong sauce might at first disguise the origins for some. “Sauce is a good way to trick people,” said Kiernan. But fish lovers can tell the difference right off. The same goes for lobster. He remembered being pressured to try the lobster pie at a fancy restaurant. He could guess what was coming. “It was frozen meat. It’s just tougher. ... The frozen stuff should be for soup.”
Likewise, he’s eaten escolar and “We all got stomach aches.” Lobsters he buys from local fishermen. Other fish comes in from vendors clearly labeled with a notice if it’s been frozen. Kiernan doesn’t think it will be a big problem at his end, nor for restaurants, if fish is accurately labeled.
The Massachusetts bill mirrors a law already passed in Florida, said Speliotis. What’s more, he thinks passage here would influence the fishing business nationwide. “After this the industry will sell tuna as tuna.”
Speliotis acknowledges that labeling fish could seem daunting. “But they do it at the supermarket,” he pointed out. Getting behind this effort, he added, was part of his work previously on the Consumer Protection Committee.
The legislation anticipates fines for violating its prohibitions at $400 for a first offense and $800 for a second.