Educational Resources Lets Talk Science Challenge participants

Students collaborating

Introduction to the Fish Market Survey

Fish Market Survey


In this introductory activity, students will read two articles about the issue of fish mislabelling and complete two graphic organizers to identify the issue, its implications and possible solutions. They will complete the organizers individually and in pairs, and then discuss the results with the whole class.


Success Criteria

  • Thoughtfully completed graphic organizers
  • Provide quality responses during group discussions

Prior Knowledge and Skills

  • Ability to identify the main ideas in a body of text


Suggested timing: 30 minutes

  • Provide each student with one of the two articles as well as a copy of the Fish Mislabelling Graphic Organizer.
  • Once each student has read his/her assigned article, s/he will independently complete the Fish Mislabelling Graphic Organizer.
  • Once all of the students have completed their individual organizers, each student should pair with a student who read the other article and together complete the Comparing Sources Graphic Organizer.
  • Finally, have a class discussion about the problem identified in the articles including the implications for health, regulations and the economy, and the role that DNA barcoding can play in terms of identifying fish for market.

Implementation Options

  • If individual information technologies (i.e., smartphones, tablets, etc.) are available, Fish Mislabelling Graphic Organizer and the Comparing Sources Graphic Organizer can be shared digitally and complete individually.


  • Article 1: Importer employs DNA testing to battle 'rampant' seafood mislabelling, Vancouver Sun (2012)
    [html] [.pdf]
  • Article 2: Mislabelling means rare fish sold: Marketplace, CBC News (2010)
    [html] [.pdf]
  • Fish Mislabelling Graphic Organizer
    [Google Doc] [.pdf]
  • Comparing Sources Graphic Organizer
    [Google Doc] [.pdf]

Additional Resources

Articles about Seafood Fraud

Truth in advertising? DNA barcoding shines light on commercial claims (Aug. 19, 2015)
This article from the Kitchener News describes some of the DNA barcoding, including testing of sushi, at the University of Guelph. (Accessed Dec. 05, 2019)

Largest-Ever Seafood Fraud Study Has Guelph Ties (Feb. 22, 2013)
This article on the University of Guelph website describes the role of the University of Guelph in testing fish samples and identifying fish mislabelling. (Accessed Dec. 05, 2019)

Restaurants use DNA barcoding to certify premium seafood (Nov. 26, 2011)
This KEPR-TV (posted 2011) news article announces the U.S. Food and Drug Administration official approval of DNA barcoding to prevent the mislabelling of both locally produced and imported seafood in the United States. (Accessed Dec. 05, 2019)

Cod Mislabelling Four Times More Prevalent in Ireland Than UK, Study Shows (July 14, 2011)
This ScienceDaily article reports results from a study in which DNA barcoding of fish samples revealed that 28% of cod products in Ireland are mislabelled, as compared to 7% in the UK. (Accessed Dec. 05, 2019)

Restaurants to Use Fish DNA Barcode Technology to Identify Species (Nov. 28, 2011)
This CP article announces that barcoding has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to identify fish market substitution in
the restaurant industry. (Accessed Dec. 05, 2019)

DNA Barcoding Reveals Mislabelled Cod and Haddock in Dublin (posted April 22, 2010)
This ScienceDaily article describes the role of DNA barcoding in identifying various fish products that are being mislabelled under European Union (EU) regulations. (Accessed Dec. 05, 2019)

'Seafood fraud' widespread in Canada, says ocean advocacy group (October 16, 2019)
More than one-third of fish samples in Montreal were entirely different species than advertised. (Accessed Dec. 05, 2019)

Your expensive red snapper and sea bass may not be what they seem – (March 9, 2019)
Many seafood dishes sold in grocery stores and restaurants are not what they appear to be, according to a new report.

Videos about Seafood Fraud

Are you Eating Fake Fish - The Doctors
(4:31 min.)

Secrets of supermarket meat and fish: Testing the food you buy - CBC Marketplace
(The fish fraud segment is in the first 5 minutes.)

How Seafood Fraud Works - The Boston Globe 
(2:24 min.)

Fish Fraud and the Red Snapper - Secrets of Sushi
(4:37 min.)

Cheap Fish That Can Make You Sick Is Being Served in Some Sushi Restaurants - Inside Edition 
(3:04 min.)

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