Because of its location on the sunny shores of an ocean shared with Japan, sushi fans in Los Angeles have long had a plethora of spots to choose from. But a study released Wednesday revealed that less than half of the people who order the raw delicacy in La La Land actually get the fish they wanted.

After going to 26 sushi restaurants in Los Angeles between 2012 and 2015, it was found that 47 percent of the fish was mislabeled, according to a joint team of researchers at the University of California Los Angeles and Loyola Marymount University.

“Half of what we’re buying isn’t what we think it is,” said the study’s senior author, Paul Barber, a UCLA professor of ecology and evolutionary biology. “I suspected we would find some mislabeling, but I didn’t think it would be as high as we found in some species.”

When researchers tested the DNA from 43 orders of halibut and 32 orders of red snapper, they found that a different kind of fish was served nearly every time. In the nine out of 10 times researchers ordered halibut over the four-year study, they were served flounder instead. After ordering salmon 47 times, they found the fish mislabeled in six instances. But sushi advertised as tuna was mostly always tuna, with only one out of the 48 orders not being so, according to a local report Wednesday.

In addition to customers not getting what they paid for, researchers say their findings hindered environmental efforts aimed at curbing overfishing. Roughly four of the 10 halibut they ordered that ended up being flounder were considered to be species that were overfished to near extinction. 

Mislabeling fish could also present unexpected health risk among pregnant women looking to limit their intake of mercury, which could reportedly lead to complications in childbirth, according to the Food and Drug Administration. Carnivorous fish, especially tuna, are considered to have higher mercury levels because of a process called biomagnification. This is where the garbage on the ocean floor causes levels of mercury to be enhanced as it is circulated up the food chain after originally being eaten by bottom-dwellers like crabs. 

"Fish fraud at L.A.-area restaurants and grocery stores can pose health threats if substitute fish are contaminated or contain allergens, thwart consumers who are trying to buy sustainable, and impede fisheries policy," said Sarah Sikich, a representative of Heal the Bay, a nonprofit environmental group based in Santa Monica, California.

Roughly 32 percent of Americans have never tried sushi, but 62 percent of people are willing to “give it a shot,” according to an April 2015 study conducted by the restaurant chain Pei Wei, operated by P.F. Chang’s.