Bluefin Tuna Cornwall England Mark Kirkland

Choosing sustainable seafood

From why sustainable seafood is important to why as an environmental organisation we encourage people to eat fish, here we explain why we do what we do.

Why is choosing sustainable seafood important?

Our seas face a wide range of threats, including climate change, pollution, habitat loss and biodiversity loss. The UN has named unsustainable fishing as the greatest driver of marine biodiversity loss in the world. 94% of global fish stocks are fully or overexploited.

Over 2 billion people around the world depend on seafood as their primary source of animal protein, and with an ever-growing population, there is increasing pressure on our ocean to supply us with food. It is critical that we meet our future protein needs whilst ensuring the health, diversity and productivity of our marine environment. Well-managed fisheries and aquaculture can provide us with low-carbon protein for generations to come.

By choosing only sustainable seafood, we can help minimise damage to vulnerable habitats and species. When consumers choose sustainable seafood, it encourages supermarkets and restaurants to demand it from their suppliers. This demand can reward fishers and fish farmers who adopt sustainable practices and encourage governments to improve management.

Over time, we've seen that the market demand for more sustainable seafood is encouraging real improvements in the management and operation of fishing and aquaculture.

Why does an environmental organisation encourage people to eat any fish?

We believe there is a firm place for responsible, well-managed fishing and aquaculture in our vision of healthy seas.

Wild-caught and farmed seafood is an important source of protein for billions of people around the world and it supports the social and economic prosperity of many coastal communities and countries, including in the UK.

97% of UK households eat fish and we want to make sure that they choose the most sustainable options, from the green end of our ratings spectrum. We believe that demand for only sustainable seafood can help encourage improvements in unsustainable fishing and fish farming practices. There is also increasing evidence that some forms of seafood can provide an important source of low-carbon protein, which is crucial for our changing climate.

Why do we have recipes for seafood on our website and our Good Fish Guide?

In the UK, about 80% of seafood sold is from just 5 species groups (cod, haddock, salmon, tuna and prawns) despite the UK catching and producing a wide range of species that can be more sustainable.

By sharing recipes for other species, we hope to encourage people to diversify their seafood choices and try more sustainable local options. This reduces pressure on wild populations, and also supports local fishers and producers.

Good Fish Guide

Our Good Fish Guide has all the advice you need to choose sustainable seafood. Start by searching for your favourite seafood below.