fishing boats

Sustainable seafood tips

3 minute read

Evie Martin

13 Dec 2021

What's on your plate has an impact on the planet and our ocean, so we've come up with 12 sustainable seafood tips to help you have an ocean-friendly fish-mas.

1. Mix it up

Try choosing a fish in the supermarket, on a menu or from your fish monger that you haven’t tried before!

80% of the seafood we eat in the UK is made up of just 5 species! Take a look at our top swaps, and recipes for inspiration!

2. Avoid red rated

You wouldn’t eat a panda for Christmas dinner, yet some of the fish on our menus are as endangered as the Bengal tiger!

Check the Good Fish Guide to make sure you are not causing populations to decline or undue damage to the marine environment.

Our ratings also cover things like management and bycatch, they are really thorough!

Is the fish on your plate red-rated?

Search our Good Fish Guide ratings and find out now

3. Eat farmed shellfish

Shellfish are a very climate friendly choice when choosing seafood.

Farmed shellfish don’t require any feed, they get their food filtering the oceans, cleaning it as they go. Farmed mussels, scallops and clams are all fantastic options!

4. Look for HOW your seafood caught

Look for low-impact fishing and farming methods to prevent significant harm to marine species and habitats.

More environmentally-friendly methods include pots, hand-diving, or pole and line fishing. The Good Fish Guide includes factors such as by-catch in ratings which varies depending how the seafood was caught.

5. Look for eco-labels

If you’re eating prawns this Christmas, be sure to check for eco-labels. Certified seafood has to meet stricter requirements for minimising environmental impact and tracking exactly where it has come from and how it was caught or farmed.

Look out for the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) blue tick, as well as labels from the Soil Association and those certified Organic.


Eco-labels can help you to understand more about how the seafood was caught or farmed.

6. Talk about it!

If you’re making the right choices, tell your friends about it!

Every purchase matters, and you never know who you might inspire to do the same.

Sardines shoal Rich Carey

Credit: Rich Carey via Shutterstock

7. New Year’s resolution

Stuck for ideas for your New Year’s resolution? Why not eat for the climate and consider going 'climatarian'? By eating sustainable seafood you are helping our oceans to recover.

Seafood when farmed our caught sustainably has a much lesser impact on the environment, and emits less CO2, than land-farmed animal protein.

8. Easy swaps

There are some really easy swaps that you can make that will make very little difference to your favourite meals, but make a huge difference to our oceans.

Think about swapping salmon for farmed trout, or cod and haddock for less widely eaten (yet equally tasty) coley or hake.

Salmon swap

What sustainable seafood swaps should I make?

Simple seafood swaps

9. Tell your local chippy or pub about the Good Fish Guide for Business

The Good Fish Guide for Business is a free tool that chefs and restaurants can use to make sure that they are buying the right fish for our planet.

While you’re waiting for your chips to fry, or propping up your elbow on the bar of a restaurant, why not strike up conversation about it and ask if they use it.

You’ll be surprised how many businesses are using it already!

Good Fish Guide for Business

Register now

10. Look for WHERE your seafood was caught or farmed

It’s really important to find out where your seafood was caught.

Populations of fish in different areas varies a lot, so whilst it might be sustainable to catch cod in Iceland at the moment, it’s definitely not sustainable to catch it around the UK where it’s numbers are low.

Look for this info and check it on the Good Fish Guide.

11. Talk to your fishmonger

Your fishmonger, in a supermarket or independent store, will have a wealth of knowledge on the seafood your looking at, including where and how it was caught, and what to do with it.

Start talking and they should be able to advise on the most sustainable options, and might inspire you to try something new.

We've got some great tips for you to help you shop for sustainable seafood.

Pan-Fried Bream with Grilled Fennel and Black Olives (bute st seafoodie).jpg

Credit: © Bute St Seafoodie

12. Download our Guide

You can save the Good Fish Guide directly to your phone by going straight to the Good Fish Guide on your phone's browser.

You’ll be prompted to ‘download now’ and when you do, you’ll even be able to check ratings offline when in the supermarket.

Every purchase matters!

Is the seafood on your plate endangered?

Search our Good Fish Guide to find out