Bill looks to keep SC seafood industry honest

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- The Lowcountry is known for its world famous seafood -- but do you really know where your seafood is coming from when you order off the menu or at the fish market?

South Carolina Senators will be discussing a 'Truth in Seafood' bill up in Columbia on Thursday. The purpose of the bill is for customers to get exactly the seafood that they order.

Paul Godbout is a local commercial fisherman and owner of Sellsfish Premium Seafood in Summerville. Godbout is driving up to Columbia with a group of fisherman to speak on behalf of the bill.

Godbout says when it comes down to it, it's an anti-fraud bill for the seafood industry in the state where not everyone is honest about where their seafood product comes from.

"My main message is open your eyes -- it's amazing how many people don't know this is happening and everyday we educate what actually is a local fish," Godbout said. "There are so many rumors and falsehoods in retailing seafood. I just want the people to be aware of what they are eating."

The 'Truth in Seafood' bill is aimed at stopping restaurants and markets from selling fish they say is local, when it isn't, and misleading customers on what type of fish they get on their plates dispute what the menu says.

"You can't do this in any other business -- they can't sell you a piece of goat meat and say it's beef. You can't do it. I wouldn't want it to be vulture meant and they sell you it as chicken nuggets. For some reason there has been little oversight in this industry and it is time for it to change," he said.

Supporters of the bill say that the 'Truth in Seafood' bill hopes to turn around the dying local commercial fisherman culture. Paul Godbout says it has been a struggle for local commercial fisherman to compete with imported seafood that is played off as local seafood for lower prices.

"We are just looking for truth, everybody needs to be honest," Godbout said.

Rep. Stephen Goldfinch from Georgetown is the sponsor of the bill.