Fish food

Eat sustainable fish

Tasty, healthy and hugely versatile, it's no wonder fish have become one of humanity’s most important and popular foods. About three billion people rely on seafood as their main source of protein1.

But, coming from a vast, watery world that's largely invisible to humans, food from the sea is often wrongly viewed as an unlimited resource. The result? Many species have been fished to near extinction, severely imbalancing the marine ecosystem.

Get friendly with your fish. Find out where it's come from and only buy it if it's been sustainably sourced. For an extra challenge, why not try a new sustainable species?

For more inspiration and advice make the pledge!

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Why

Here are a few reasons to take action.

Click for more info or scroll to read them all.

Climate change

Fish has a similar carbon footprint to poultry, and is significantly less carbon intensive than meats like beef and pork.2 However, not all fish are equal: the carbon footprint of shellfish is much greater than that of net or line-caught fish.

And largely as a result of growing consumer preference for shellfish, the carbon footprint of the fishing industry increased by 28% between 1990 and 2011.2

Fuel-intensive fishing techniques like dredging, bottom trawling and beam trawling also have higher emissions, with line and net-caught fish and smaller boats having a far lower impact.

What’s more, our ocean plays a huge role in climate regulation, absorbing approximately 40% of the atmosphere’s carbon.3 Keeping the ocean ecosystems working healthily is important in our fight against climate change.

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of the fishing industry’s carbon emissions are from fishing shellfish, yet shellfish only makes up 6% of the food caught.4

Society

12% of the world's population rely on fisheries and aquaculture for their livelihoods,3 with many local economies and communities being built around the fishing industry.

As fish stocks are decimated by industrial-scale trawling, these economies and communities are put at threat. By buying certified sustainable fish, you can help turn the tide and help these communities to survive.

Biodiversity

The fuel-intensive fishing techniques mentioned above - dredging and trawling - are also the ones causing the most direct damage to the marine environment. Over 300,000 small whales, dolphins, and porpoises die from entanglement in fishing nets each year. Hundreds of thousands of endangered loggerhead turtles and critically endangered leatherback turtles are caught annually on longlines set for tuna, swordfish, and other fish5.

Fishing nets and trawlers are the biggest single threat to the survival of most of these species.

The beams and nets also leave a wake of destruction on the seabed, razing entire habitats - including rare deep sea coral and sponge ecosystems that take between decades and millennia to develop.

Finally, overfishing is a huge problem that is only going to increase as populations increase in size and wealth. Unless, of course, we change our habits now and put pressure on the industry to up their game and start using the sustainable solutions that already exist.

Global Goals

In September 2017, a historic agreement was signed by UN member nations agreeing to work towards 17 Global Goals for Sustainable Development by 2030, otherwise known as the SDGs.

Achieving these ambitious goals will require action from governments, businesses, NGOs, and individuals alike. We can - and must - all play our part.

By making the 'Fish food' pledge, you are contributing to the following SDG targets:

12.8: By 2030, ensure that people everywhere have the relevant information and awareness for sustainable development and lifestyles in harmony with nature

13.3: Improve education, awareness-raising and human and institutional capacity on climate change mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction and early warning

14.2: By 2020, sustainably manage and protect marine and coastal ecosystems to avoid significant adverse impacts, including by strengthening their resilience, and take action for their restoration in order to achieve healthy and productive oceans

14.4: By 2020, effectively regulate harvesting and end overfishing, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and destructive fishing practices and implement science-based management plans, in order to restore fish stocks in the shortest time feasible, at least to levels that can produce maximum sustainable yield as determined by their biological characteristics

How

How

  1. Get informed. There are two leading sources of information on the sustainability of fish:
  1. Ask how your fish was caught. Whether out in a restaurant or at the fishmonger, ask. If the answer is dredging or bottom trawling or beam trawling, don’t buy it. And even if the person you’re asking doesn’t know, you’ll have raised the question.
  2. Buy local, seasonal fish. It will have a smaller carbon footprint and is usually cheaper. But remember, the seasonal bit is as important as the local - you don’t want to be buying wild caught fish during their breeding season.
  3. Find a friendly fishmonger who sources their fish from sustainable fisheries. They’ll be able to tell you what’s in season and what’s good to try for the first time. They might even be able to give you a few recipe tips too!
  4. Visit a sustainable chippie. The MSC has a great map of MSC certified fish & chip shops across the UK.

Success Stories

733

Pledges
in total

2,957kg

CO2
pledged

Good thing to do, felt bite sized and manageable. Had a positive impact on other environmental behaviour change.

Learnt which fish were most sustainable and changed brand of tuna I'll buy from now on

As a pescatarian, choosing sustainable fish and seafood is important for me. The biggest polluter of our seas and oceans is fishing nets and therefore choosing produce from countries that do this sustainably makes sense. I also learned about the harms of fish farming.

When I buy fish fillets I always go for sustainable fish but do struggle with sushi as I can not see fish origin then.

Difficult to find sustainable fish in weekly supermarket shop, but was more aware, reading packets and making more informed choices. And eating less fish!

We ate more fish as a result of increased focus on my pledge, which must have made our family healthier - can only be a good thing. With 2 teenagers currently undertaking exams the brain food should stimulate some increased productivity.....and it does feel good to know that we have tried to support sustainable fishing

The labels were easy to find so I only bought sustainable fish

Easy to ask and easy to read a box if you want to hook the right fish

I became more aware of my choices in grocery shopping and in restaurants. Learned new things! Thanks!

It was sometimes difficult to find sustainable fish but once I found a source at Morrison's the fresh fish counter got all my business. The fish tasted better too.

I've actually cut down on fish / meat and upped veggie meals so double win.

Even used a chippy that served sustainable fish!

Only thing I realized is that I don't eat fish once a week, more like once every two weeks.

I pledge to seek out & purchase only sustainably caught fish as often as there is the option!

I've been eating locally purchased fish about twice a week and will continue to do so.

This has really made a difference to my thinking about eating fish.

I can choose when I go food shopping, more difficult with fish and chip shops.

Anyone who knows me should now know that I practically survive on apples, tuna and salmon. But this time I did look for the labels "line caught, responsibly sourced, wild, etc..". That wasn't really possible when I eat out, maybe I should start asking the question!

I have even been impressed on how many restaurant waiting staff can tell you if their fish is sustainably sourced.

After trying a few different varieties I eventually found Tilapia which I checked is a sustainable fish and very tasty indeed so I will definitely be carrying on with it!