John Dory

Zeus faber

Method of production — Caught at sea
Capture method — Gill or fixed net
Capture area — North East Atlantic (FAO 27)
Stock area — All Areas
Stock detail


Picture of John Dory

Sustainability rating three info

Sustainability overview

John Dory is moderately vulnerable to exploitation but is not actively targeted, it is generally taken as bycatch in trawl nets. As an unregulated or unprotected species there is potential for landing and marketing of immature fish. However, as John Dory is not a typical ‘round fish’, regulations in trawl mesh are largely deemed ineffective. Avoid eating immature fish (less than 35cm) and during their breeding season, June-August.


John Dory has a distinctive appearance with its laterally compressed body and large dark “eyespot”. It usually lives a solitary life or is found in small schools in inshore waters. They become sexually mature at an age of around 4 years and at a length of 29-35cm. Spawns in June-August off the coasts of southern England, earlier in the Mediterranean. It can reach lengths of 70cm and has a maximum age of about 12 years.

Stock information

Stock Area

All Areas

Stock information

There is no specific information available regarding John Dory as there is no directed fishery for this species. Although a valuable species, its habits are such that landings are sporadic. Studies suggest that the eastern Channel, southern North Sea and the Irish sea can be regarded as seasonal nursery grounds for this species. John Dory is considered an under-utilised species. Under-utilised species are ones that fishermen don’t catch their full quota of; or they catch them but then discard the fish because no one wants to buy them. Centre for Environmental, Fisheries and Aquaculture Scince (Cefas) have compiled a list of these species using quota and discard information, expert advice and local knowledge and chose around 50 under-utilised species to study. To determine their sensitivity to over-fishing Cefas has developed a system, the Relative Life History Sensitivity Analysis, to study the risk. It uses biological information like growth and breeding strategies to see how increased fishing pressure might damage each species. They then ranked the species by how tolerant they are to being over-fished. For a full list of the species that are most under-utilised AND most tolerant of over-fishing and therefore the best ones for consumers to consider choosing see


There is no management of John Dory, it is generally taken as bycatch in demersal trawl fisheries.

Capture Information

John Dory is generally taken as bycatch in trawls. Because it is an unregulated or unprotected species, there is potential for landing and marketing of immature fish.


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.

Basa, Tra, Catfish or Vietnamese River Cobbler
Bass, seabass (Farmed)
Bream, Gilthead (Farmed)
Cod, Atlantic Cod
Coley, Saithe
Hake, Cape
Hake, European
Japanese amberjack, Yellowtail or Seriola
Pollack or Lythe
Pollock, Alaska, Walleye
Pouting or Bib
Sturgeon (Farmed)