Our seafood services
The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) has been a leading marine environmental charity in the UK for over 30 years, and has a history of success in championing sustainable seafood.
MCS can support businesses that want to incorporate conservation into their work and source sustainable seafood. Whether large or small, well-seasoned or new to the environmental issues associated with the wild capture or farmed production of seafood, MCS has a range of services to help you make more sustainable decisions.
MCS has dedicated, experienced experts that can provide you with professional and comprehensive advice tailored to your needs. We also produce the Good Fish Guide, one of the longest running and widely respected sustainable seafood ratings systems in Europe.
We have a proven track record of providing sustainable seafood advice and resources to a wide variety of stakeholders. Our sustainable seafood ratings are used by hundreds of businesses and organisations that include:
- Leading supermarkets including M&S, The Cooperative and Waitrose
- The London 2012 Olympics and the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games
- Abel & Cole, the ethical food box company
- The M&J Safely Sourced Seafood List
- Celebrity chefs and restaurants including HughFearnley-Whittingstall, Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group, Raymond Blanc and BBC MasterChef
- Food service suppliers Brakes, Compass Group and Green Gourmet
- Leading chippies like Frankies, Harbour Lights, Kingfisher, Olley’s Fish Experience, and Richardsons
Sustainability initiatives such as…
- Cornwall Good Seafood Guide
- Soil Association’s ‘Food For Life’ Catering Mark
- Sustainable Fish Cities
- Sustainable Restaurant Association
The seafood that a business buys and sells goes to the core of its sustainability and credibility. We recognise that knowing and understanding the range of environmental issues associated with the capture or farming of seafood is not straightforward.
MCS has developed a range of tools to make it easier for businesses to learn more about these issues and to make informed seafood buying decisions.
Our Good Fish Guide (goodfishguide.org) website of nearly 700 separate fishery and farmed species listings, depending on where and how seafood was caught or produced, is the first point of call for any business wanting to know about the seafood they’re sourcing. Ratings are reviewed annually and incorporate the best available scientific information.
This resource underpins many of the seafood supply services we offer and our team can also provide tailored sourcing solutions depending on the needs of your business, including:
- Recommendations of alternatives to seafood with serious environmental concern
- Guidance for development of decision trees and rapid assessment tools
- Recommendations for appropriate improvement work
- Advice on choosing certified farmed products
- Recommendations for seasonal sourcing
The MCS Good Fish Guide (goodfishguide.org) website consists of sustainability ratings and information for nearly 700 separate fishery and farmed seafood sources that are most commonly traded in the UK, yet this is certainly not an exhaustive range of seafood available. With the development of new products and new markets, combined with the UK being a net importer of seafood, new sources are continually emerging. As a key part of MCS’s ethos as a UK based environmental charity, we prioritise and maintain ratings that are of the most importance to the UK marketplace.
In addition to these, MCS also provides a consultancy service to undertake bespoke ratings for lesser known sources. This is because we simply don’t have the resources to rate absolutely all of the thousands of seafood sources available, but through undertaking paid requests, we can provide additional sustainability advice on sources outside our normal scope.
These custom assessments have the option of being either publicly available (i.e. added to the existing Good Fish Guide database) or being purely business to business for a 12 month period (all individual farm assessments will be non-public).
If you would like a particular fishery or farmed source assessed by MCS, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 01989 561 584.
Please note, before we are able to consider a rating request, we will first need some top line information about the seafood, including:
- Common and scientific name of the seafood (e.g. Cod, Gadus morhua)
- Catch area and stock region; or farmed production country (e.g. FAO 27, Northeast Atlantic, West English Channel; or Farmed in India)
- Fishing gear type; or farm production method (e.g. Gillnet caught; Open net pens)
- Any existing certifications and standards (e.g. Icelandic Responsible Fishing Scheme; GlobalGap; ASC)
Consumers rely on the integrity of retailers and suppliers to provide them with seafood that has come from environmentally responsible sources, i.e. sources that do not pose a risk to fish stocks and other marine wildlife and habitats. A transparent and robust sourcing policy will help seafood businesses make and demonstrate sourcing decisions that reflect the ethics of the business’s stakeholders and customers.
Depending on the type of business, there may be a wide range and scale of criteria that a business wishes to consider in a seafood sourcing policy. For example, some companies may wish to make commitments to source based upon existing and recognised certifications and ratings programmes, whereas others might want to develop more detailed policies based upon their own sustainability criteria.
Whichever approach is desired, MCS can provide policy recommendations for both farmed and wild caught seafood sources. Other aspects of a policy could include:
- Alignment with government policies such as UK Government Buying Standards
- Commitments to improve performance over time
- Traceability protocols and testing regimes from the point-of-sale back to the source fishery or farm
- Data collection and management to monitor and evaluate progress
- Supplier engagement for products needing improvement
- Discontinuation of products where there is limited potential for improvement
- Education of employees, suppliers and customers on environmental issues
- Advocacy for government reform of fisheries management
- Public access to the policy and regular public updates on progress
The Marine Conservation Society strongly believes that raising awareness and promoting sustainable practices is key to driving ongoing improvements in fisheries and aquaculture management. MCS has an excellent track record of communicating sustainable seafood issues to a wide and diverse audience and communicates with over 90,000 people on a regular basis through social media platforms.
Some examples of resources we can help develop for your business include:
- Website content
- Product information and fact sheets
The benefits of communicating what your business is doing for sustainable seafood are many. Good communications can:
- Educate your customers about the origins and environmental issues associated with seafood production
- Demonstrate how you are playing a role to reduce the environmental impact of seafood production
- Expand your customer base
Actions you can take
- Download our guide showing how fish are caught
- Download our guide showing how fish are farmed
- Contact us
- See our Ross On Wye office location on Google Maps
- Open a .pdf showing directions to our Ross On Wye office
Did you know?…
21.7 million tonnes of wild caught fish are not for people to eat; almost 75% of this is to feed farmed fish
41% of North East Atlantic stocks including those around the UK are subject to overfishing
A estimated £1.1 billion is spent on fish and chips every year in the UK
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