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Sustain Coronavirus Food Alert Defending our food supply

Keeping fishers in business

Credit: Ruth Westcott

Credit: Ruth Westcott

Last updated July 2020

Boats catching fresh fish for restaurants and pubs have seen their market all but disappear and the value of some species has dropped by up to 85%. Read our advice on ways to support our fishers. We welcome that the government will now pay 80% of the income of share fishers - as well as offering grants for small processors, transport companies and auction houses. 

We are helping to champion the needs of fishers and market outlets, with buyers and policy-makers at local and national level. 

Protecting street markets 

It is absolutely vital that street markets and farmers markets stay open with safe social-distancing measures. They offer a crucial alternative route to market for fishers but - despite being declared essential services - are at risk of being shut down temporarily. See our Markets Information Hub for more.

Encouraging buyers to chose sustainable fish from around the coast of the UK

70% of the fish eaten in the UK is imported, and we export 80% of what we catch. The fish that we eat the most in the UK are nearly always imported - tuna, most seabass, king prawns, and most cod, but there are lots of delicious species caught around our coastline and now is the perfect time to choose them. Below are some of the more sustainable options from each region.


Why not buy direct - some suppliers sourcing straight from fisheries are adapting to COVID-19 by offering online ordering and delivery, or local collection.  

This list is a work in progress, please contact us if you think we have missed anyone. We have crowdsourced information, haven't researched suggestions in depth, and inclusion doesn’t signify recommendation or endorsement by Sustainable Fish Cities/Sustain. Many may be offering a combination of UK-landed and imported fish.

A few delivering nationwide direct from fishers - in no particular order

Mourne FishBox - delivers to your doorstep (UK or Ireland) - free delivery

The Cornish Fishmonger - delivers UK-wide (small delivery charge)

Fish for Thought -  delivers UK-wide (small delivery charge)

Fish in a box - currently not accepting orders but keep checking website

Fish Box - A fish-box subscription service - delivers nationwide

The Fish Society - Luxury online fishmonger - select ‘UK’ for locally-landed produce. 

The Magpie’s Whitby Catch - offering ‘kippers by post’ - exactly what it says on the tin - Kippers are one of the most sustainable and nutritious fish options - packed with Omega-3. Check website as normally offer other species by post - Deliver nationwide - free over £60 or a small charge otherwise 

Dockside Seafood - Deliver nationwide - choose from their range or a fish box

AO Seafood - Deliver across the UK

Ish Boxes - Fish Boxes or choose your own 

Regal Fish - Delivering to England and N Wales 

The Devon Fishmonger - UK-wide delivery for a small fee, cheaper in Devon

Eversfield Organic - Fish box or choose your own


Online marketplaces and directories for small-scale producers:

NeighbourFood - allows you to check for a local market - then order online and collect on a set date.

Big Barn - Buy fish direct from their website or their map lists businesses and market stalls buying direct from fisheries

Open Food Network - a directory of thousands of producers selling online including fantastic fish from Sole of Discretion

Farming UK is a great directory of local farm shops - and some sell fish


A few offering local delivery or collection

Soleshare - 15+ pick-up locations across London

Fresh from the Boat - sell from a number of stalls and deliver near Portsmouth

Moxons Fresh Fish - 4 outlets in London and local delivery 

Farmdrop - delivers direct from small producers across London - at the time of writing they have delivery slots left and are operating a queueing system

You can also contact your local food partnership for suggestions

Choose Sustainably

Sustainable fisheries will fare better as we emerge out of this crisis. As businesses re-open, healthy fish stocks will have enough resilience to allow more catches but any boost in catches threatens the viability of depleted populations. We must rebuild our industry on the basis of a resilient ecosystems.

We have highlighted some of the sustainable fisheries in each region in the UK, correct April 2020. You can find more in the Good Fish Guide


More sustainable choices

South-West England

See Cornish Seafood Guide

MSC certified Normandy and Jersey lobster

South-East England

Grey and red gurnard, lemon sole, UK farmed king prawns, brill, pot-caught velvet crab, dab, hake, Jersey lobster, plaice, pouting, sardine, sprat

MSC certified:
 - Whiting
 - Clam and Cockle from Poole harbour
 - Thames cockle
 - Herring
 - Normandy and Jersey lobster

Wales and NW England

Mussels, clam, brown crab, oyster, line-caught seabass, pot-caught velvet crab, plaice, pollock, queen scallop

MSC certified:
 - Dee Estury cockle
 - Burry Inlet cockles
 - North Menai Strait mussel

East England

Dab, grey and red gurnard, monkfish, lemon sole, Dover sole, brill, cockle, coley, flounder, hake, herring, plaice, pouting, turbot

MSC certified:
 - Whiting
 - Brown shrimp from The Wash
 - North sea plaice, brown shrimp and sole
 - North sea herring


Pot-caught brown crab, dab, haddock, langoustines from some areas in the west of Scotland, megrim, monkfish, brill, coley, hake, hand-dived scallops

MSC certified:
 - Haddock
 - Shetland brown crab
 - Rope-grown mussel and dredged scallop
 - North sea herring

Northern Ireland

Megrim, monkfish, sardine, coley, brown crab, hake, herring, plaice, pollock

MSC certified:
 - Bottom Grown mussel
 - Irish Sea herring
 - Northern Ireland mackerel 


If you have information to share on this theme, please write to:

Coronavirus Food Alert: Sustain's work on food resilience in the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.We are helping secure food for vulnerable people and supporting local emergency responses.

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London E2 9DA

020 3559 6777

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