Whitebait

Various species, usually juveniles

Method of production — Caught at sea
Capture method — All applicable methods
Capture area — North East Atlantic (FAO 27)
Stock area — All Areas
Stock detail — All Areas
Picture of Whitebait

Sustainability rating five info

Sustainability overview

The term whitebait is used widely throughout the world, referring to small, usually marine, fishes. It has been reported that whitebait available in the UK is made up mostly of young sprats from the Baltic Sea, but depending on the source, these may be mixed with the young of shad, herrings, sticklebacks, gobies and shrimps. It is often difficult to identify different species when they are so small, meaning that in some fisheries the monitoring and reporting of the actual catch may be skewed. Harvesting fish when they are small and before they have matured means they have not contributed to the growth of the population; therefore significant harvesting of juveniles of any stock can have a disproportionately large impact on the health of the population. Small fish are also important prey for other fish, marine mammals and bird species.

Mature sprat is a more sustainable alternative to whitebait, so if you see whitebait on the menu, ask if it is pure sprat.

Biology

Whitebait are young fish. In Europe the term applies to various young fish from the herring family (Cludeidae), but in other parts of the world the term is used for other species.

Stock information

Criterion score: 1 info

Stock Area

All Areas

Stock information

Management

Capture Information

Alternatives

Based on method of production, fish type, and consumer rating: only fish rated 2 and below are included as an alternative in the list below. Click on a name to show the sustainable options available.

Anchovy, anchovies
Arctic char
Herring or sild
Mackerel
Salmon, Atlantic (Farmed)
Salmon, Chum, Keta, Calico or Dog salmon
Salmon, Pink, Spring , humpback
Salmon, Sockeye , Red Salmon, Bluebacks, Redfish
Swordfish
Trout, Rainbow
Tuna, albacore
Tuna, skipjack
Tuna, yellowfin