© Peter Duncan

Our fish ratings

Each of the fish included on the MCS websites have been given a rating to enable you to quickly identify species that are considered to be the most sustainably produced, and those species which are not.

Green rated Fish, ‘Best Choice’, are rated 1 and 2, and red rated fish, ‘Fish to Avoid’, are Rated 5.

The rating system has been developed by the Marine Conservation Society as advice for choosing the most environmentally sustainable fish.

Rating 1 - Best Choice
Indicates the most sustainably caught or farmed fish.

Rating 2 - Good Choice
Indicates sustainably caught or responsibly farmed fish.

Rating 3 - OK
Indicates fish which are an OK choice, but require some improvements.

Rating 4 - Requires Improvement
Indicates fish which are some way from being sustainably caught or farmed and require significant improvements. We recommend that you seek alternatives where you can.

Rating 5 - Improver
good fish guide rating - 5 improver
Indicates fish which have been assessed and rated 5 (red) due to significant environmental concerns yet credible efforts to improve the fishery or farming system have been agreed through a Fisheries or Aquaculture Improvement Project – a FIP or an AIP - and work is underway. Such projects are normally publicly listed at www.fisheryprogress.org. MCS wants to encourage environmental improvements in fisheries and fish farms, and so does not recommend avoiding these fish, as we normally do for seafood rated 5 (red rated), thus providing, we hope, an incentive for businesses to support credible improvement projects.

Rating 5 - Avoid
Indicates fish from the most unsustainable fisheries or farming systems. We recommend avoiding these fish (Or encourage businesses to establish a credible improvement project).

Ratings Consultation

Twice a year, following the regular releases of scientific advice, MCS updates and consults on proposed changes to our seafood ratings. If you have an interest in our ratings and have technical insight and information that could contribute to the comprehensiveness and quality of these assessments, we welcome your input. Please contact ratings@mcsuk.org to be added to the Ratings Consultation mailing list to be notified when consultations open.

The latest (Summer 2020) ratings consultation is now closed and all consultees will receive a direct response once we have processed all submissions, prior to the results being released online. The next consultation will take place in January 2021.

FIP Improver Consultation

As noted above, MCS currently recognises Fishery Improvement Projects with a 5 - Improver rating when they meet certain criteria. We are currently (from 19th October until 13th November) consulting on updates to those criteria. We value input from our stakeholders, and would greatly appreciate feedback on the proposed guidance from anyone with experience and understanding of FIPs. The consultation can be found here and the draft FIP Guidance is below.

Actions you can take

  1. View our previous ratings methodologies
  2. Download Our Introduction to Seafood Ratings
  3. Guidance on Habitat Scoring for MPAs
  4. Download the Draft Good Fish Guide FIP Guidance October 2020
  5. View the Good Fish Guide online
  6. Download our latest Aquaculture Methodology Version 3 / 2020
  7. Download our LATEST Wild Capture Ratings Methodology (June 2018 onwards)

Did you know?…

An estimated £1.1 billion is spent on fish and chips every year in the UK

MCS launched the Good Fish Guide in 2001 to help people make good seafood choices

What's your impact on our seas?

You can play a key role in securing the future of our seas and marine wildlife by making more environmentally responsible choices when buying seafood.

Make the right choice and reduce your impact - every purchase matters!

See our top tips