Fish food


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 protein.

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 unbalancing 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!



For people

12% of the world's population rely on fisheries and aquaculture for their livelihoods, 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.

For planet

Fish has a similar carbon footprint to poultry, and is significantly less carbon intensive than meats like beef and pork. 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.

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. Keeping the ocean ecosystems working healthily is important in our fight against climate change.

1/5 of the fishing industry’s carbon emissions are from fishing shellfish, yet shellfish only makes up 6% of the food caught. 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 fish. 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.


  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.