The UK’s leading marine charity, the Marine Conservation Society (MCS), has launched its newly updated Good Fish Guide ratings, outlining the seafood to look out for and what to avoid when buying and dining.
The update comes as bad news for some of the UK’s most popular fish species: North Sea cod has been re-added to the list of Fish to Avoid, as have some herring stocks in the Celtic Sea, south Irish Sea, and the southwest of Ireland, because the populations are at critically low levels. Some whiting has also dropped to Fish to Avoid status because stocks are at such low levels and being overfished.
There is a mixed picture for scampi (nephrops): Some areas have improved (those caught in the Devil’s Hole region of the North Sea) and for some the picture is worse with the Horn's Reef area of the North Sea joining the list of Fish to Avoid.
It’s good news for wild-caught sea bass and John Dory, which are no longer considered fish to avoid. Plaice and sole stocks have shown recovery following reduction in fishing pressure and this is reflected in an improvement in their ratings.
According to the latest advice, five of the most sustainable seafood species caught or farmed in the UK are:
Five of the least sustainable seafood species caught in the UK:
Many fish stocks in the UK are in a poor state. The UK is expected to fall well short of most of its marine environmental targets next year, and the future of many species can no longer be guaranteed. The Sustainable Fish Cities campaign, with many others, is calling for much stronger fishing regulation that would see more of our fisheries recovering, and delivering jobs, boosted income, and thriving marine ecosystems.
Charlotte Coombes, MCS Good Fish Guide Manager, said: “UK-caught or farmed seafood can be a great sustainable option when done right, but it’s vital that people take note of what species they’re buying, where it was caught or farmed, and how. MCS’s Good Fish Guide looks at all of these key aspects, as well as looking at wider environmental impacts and how well-regulated the farms and fisheries are. “Whatever the future of the UK’s relationship with the EU, shopping for sustainable UK seafood will help to support sustainable UK fishers and fish farmers and reduce the pressure on at-risk species.”
North Sea cod – why is it off the menu again?
North Sea cod has had a troubled history, and despite years of work to bring it back to sustainable levels, the state of the stock has once again declined to a worryingly low level. A combination of fishing pressure and environmental changes, the population is so small that its ability to reproduce may be impaired. All of the cod populations around the UK are in a similar position, making this iconic species one of the least sustainable fish to be caught in UK waters, and urgent action is needed to bring it back to healthy levels.
And is sea bass coming back?
UK sea bass has come off the Fish to Avoid list. This shows what can be achieved when management of fish stocks starts to improve. After being heavily fished for decades, a series of measures brought in over the last few years have reduced fishing pressure, the first step in giving sea bass a chance to recover. Populations are still at very low levels and there is a long way to go to get this fishery well managed and in a healthy state, but this species shows how beneficial good fisheries management can be.
For more information on sustainable seafood please visit the Marine Conservation Society’s website.
Sustainable Fish Cities
Sustainable Fish Cities: A campaign to protect precious marine environments and fishing livelihoods, and call for fish to be bought from sustainable sources. We want to show what can be done if people and organisations make a concerted effort to change their buying habits.
At the ninth Good Food For All Londoners event at City Hall, London, Brent Council and Apleona Food...
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on the Ocean and Crysophere in...
Sustain member Feedback have calculated that the Scottish salmon farming industry uses 460,000...
Sustain has crowned Heathrow the world’s first Sustainable Fish Airport. The award is...
The tuna industry is worth $22 billion and growing but behind it are human rights abuses including...
Donate now to help us to protect marine environments and fishing livelihoods.
Sustain's new report published as fast food giants McDonalds and KFC are eyeing up 800 new UK...
Islington Council have topped the latest good food league table, published by London Food Link this...
As Antibiotics Awareness Week (18-22 Nov) begins the experts in the Alliance to Save Our...
Crumbs of news from the world of Real Bread.
April to September 2019 was the busiest six-month period for food banks in the Trussell...
The Green House
244-254 Cambridge Heath Road
London E2 9DA
Sustain advocates food and agriculture policies and practices that enhance the health and welfare of people and animals, improve the working and living environment, promote equity and enrich society and culture.