Never again shell out for bluefin tuna only to be sold bottom feeder by some unscrupulous fishmonger. Two developers have invented what they call "Shazam for fish" and named it, obviously, Fishazam. Hakai Magazine reports Fishazam uses a portable infrared spectrometer connected to a cellphone to scan the molecular structure of any piece of fish and identify what species it is. One out of every three fish is mislabeled, according to the Fishazam website. And even experienced sushi chefs have a hard time correctly identifying which fish is which just by looking at a prepared fillet.
The problem of mislabeling fish isn't just about subbing cheaper products for more expensive ones. Mislabeling fish makes it harder to keep track of how many fish of different species are actually being caught, putting some populations at risk. It can also make it easier to sell fish that's been caught illegally. Fishazam could change that. “If you keep everybody on their toes, then there’s a greater incentive to fish sustainably,” developer Yassine Santissi tells Hakai. Santissi and partner Sam Mbale invented Fishazam in April for Fishackathon, a global competition to find technological solutions to the problems of the fishing industry sponsored by the US State Department. They hope to continue to refine Fishazam until it's ready for widespread use. (Read more fish stories.)