Fish fraud is a serious issue preventing retailers from offering a reliable product. (Photo: Shazam)
Shazam portable for seafood hopes to catch fraudulent fish
Thursday, June 09, 2016, 00:50 (GMT + 9)
Research shows that a full third of the fish consumers buy is mislabeled and that is why scientists in London are developing a device that will scan the fish consumers purchase so as to tell them exactly what species it is.
The team, comprised of developers Yassine Santissi and Sam Mbale, created an infrared spectrometer to scan a fish at the molecular level, along with software that identifies patterns in the infrared waves that can be used to uniquely identify a fish species.
This type of software is also used in the popular music app Shazam, leading the developers to call their product Fishazam.
Mislabeling fish is a big problem and not just because the result is that people pay more for "crappy" fish. It also makes tracking global fish populations harder because agencies can't rely on sales data to determine whether a certain population is healthy, and it makes it easier to sell poached seafood. As a result, a fish could be threatened or endangered without governments even being aware of the problem.
The developers hope that Fishazam will bring a much-needed tool to a fish market with little accountability.
The team is planning to build a database of spectrographic analyses of fish species to be used by governments and retailers, and provide a referral service that recommends trustworthy fish markets.
Fishazam is a finalist in the Fishackathon, an event run by the US Department of State that encourages developers to create tools to promote sustainable fishing. The grand prize is USD 10,000, and the winner will be announced shortly.
Source: Avery Thompson / PM