Enforcement agents with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries cited three central Louisiana restaurants for allegedly selling swai fish that was being marketed on menus as catfish.
According to a news release, agents cited Robert Fant, 63, of Pineville, Mollie McDowell, 27, of Pineville, and Michael Rhodes, 39, of Pineville, for selling swai fish as catfish to their customers.
Agents received a tip that the Rosie Joe’s restaurant in Alexandria and the Crazy Cajun restaurant in Tioga were allegedly selling swai fish, so agents performed an inspection of both restaurants and found that catfish was listed on the menu but swai fish was in the freezer. Agents cited McDowell and Fant as a result of these restaurant inspections, the release states.
Agents also learned that the same practice allegedly occurred at Debarge’s Crawfish restaurant in Alexandria and cited Rhodes.
Swai fish is the common name of the iridescent shark, a type of catfish native to Southeast Asia. The fish has developed a reputation for being below quality standards because of the conditions on some fish farms in Southeast Asia.
Selling swai fish as catfish brings a $400 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail, according to the release.