DENVER (CBS4) – Large amounts of seafood being sold in grocery stores and other venues in Denver are mislabeled as something else, according to a new study by the environmental group Oceana.

The study released Thursday found that 33 percent of more than 1,200 samples of fish was mislabeled. The samples were taken from 674 retail stores in 21 states between 2010 and 2012.

Of fish samples taken in Denver, 36 percent was labeled incorrectly, according to the study.

Researchers said the fish that was often disguised as something else was cheaper or more “readily available,” such as red snapper and tuna.

For the Denver based Seattle Fish Company, using an imposter fish is something similar to a sin.

“It’s not tolerable and it should be punished,” said CEO Derek Figueroa.

Figueroa said they ship whole fish, and his company uses advanced technology to trace their fish, including DNA testing.

“If we get the whole fish we get those visual clues that shows us what it is. Buying the whole fish and breaking down the whole fish is a big piece for us,” he said. “We also support a lot of traceability measures. We do Gulf wild seafood that has traceability.”

Oceana says the study’s results are harmful to the industry in general.

“Eighty four percent of the white tuna was actually escolar, which can cause acute and serious digestive effects if you eat more than just a couple of ounces,” said Oceana spokeswoman Beth Lowell.

At the Fresh Fish Company on East Hampden Avenue in Denver, owners work hard to make sure what they serve is exactly what the menu describes.

“We get all our of our fish in fresh every day and we get it whole,” said owner Karen Kristopeit-Parker.

Restaurants that order whole fish can better identify the species and are more likely to be serving what the customer actually ordered.

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