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The project originated from the need to tackle fraud, which is increasingly affecting the fishery sector, involving, in particular species of great commercial value, such as Monkfish (Lophius spp.). The Genus Lophius includes seven species, six of which are sold throughout the world: L. piscatorius, L. budegassa, L. americanus, L. vomerinus, L. litulon and L. gastrophysus, to which Italian regulations have assigned different trade names:

L. piscatorius     Rana Pescatrice

L. budegassa       Rana Pescatrice

L. vomerinus      Rana Pescatrice Sudafricana

L. americanus     Rana Pescatrice Americana

L. litulon               Rana Pescatrice Orientale

L. gastrophysus  Rana Pescatrice Atlantica

 In Italy, the economic importance of this species has gradually increased over the years: in the past, the species of greatest commercial interest were the Lophius piscatorius and L. budegassa, both present in our seas. However imports from other countries, mainly from Asia (L. litulon) and Africa (L. vomerinus) have become popular. Monkfish, marketed fresh or frozen, are rarely found whole, but more often the heads are removed, and the fish are skinned and sold in the form of “tails”. These operations make identification based on morphological features difficult, and sometimes impossible.. This facilitates the occurrence of commercial fraud related to the anatomical replacement of species, such as Lophius budegassa and L. piscatorius with others species from non-EU countries with a lower commercial value. This situation is further complicated by the fact that most of these products are currently imported from developing countries, where it is often difficult to access all the necessary  information regarding hygiene , with important repercussions on the appropriate labeling and traceability of products. This project is promoted and supported by both health authorities and operators in the sector. The aim was to develop a molecular method, based on the analysis of a fragment of mitochondrial DNA,  in order to identify the seven species of the genus Lophius for which currently there is an Italian commercial name. The method was then applied to some commercial samples found on the Italian market by highlighting how some products are sold in the absence of mandatory information required by legislation on the traceability of fishery products.


1. Two alternative multiplex PCRs for the identification of the seven species of anglerfish (Lophius spp.) using an end-point or a melting curve analysis real-time protocol

2. A rapid PCR–RFLP method for the identification of Lophius species – European Food Research and Technology 2012

3. Sviluppo di un metodo di PCR-RFLP per l’identificazione di sei specie appartenenti al Genere Lophius – A.I.V.I. Dicembre 2009 n.6

4. Sequenziamento del citocromo b mitocondriale di Lophius vomerinus (Valenciennes, 1837) – A.I.V.I. Settembre 2008 n.1

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(Italiano) Report Oceana 2016

(Italiano) Report Oceana 2016

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