Over fishing is considered to be the greatest single threat to marine wildlife and habitats.
Look out for fish which has the Marine Stewardship Council logo on it….
Which certifies that the fish has come from a sustainable and well-managed fishery.
If you want to know more bellow are two lists one of Fish to Avoid and one of Fish which are OK.
Fish to Avoid:
Atlantic and North Sea cod
Fish that are OK:
Gurnard (grey and red)
If you want to know even more bellow is information about all the fish…. (this is all from a Guardian Article)
Fish to Avoid
(coz they are over-fished or fished using methods that damage the env’ and other sp’).
Atlantic and North Sea cod
All north-east Atlantic cod stocks are assessed as being overfished, however stocks in the North Sea, Irish Sea, West of Scotland, eastern Channel, eastern Baltic, Greenland, Skaggerak, Kattegat and Norwegian coast are the most heavily depleted.
North-east Arctic, Icelandic and Faroese cod stocks are healthier, but scientists still recommend that fishing pressure on these stocks also be reduced. Avoid eating cod from stocks which are depleted and where fishing levels are unsustainable. To help reduce the impact of fishing on other marine species choose cod which is caught using the sustainable traditional fishing method of hook and line, make sure that it is caught using “seabird-friendly” methods as longline fishing can result in seabird by-catch.
Atlantic halibut is a thick-set, flat fish with both eyes on the right-hand side of the body. It lives in deep, cold waters and is slow-growing.
Atlantic halibut is overfished, which means it is caught in such high numbers that a sustainable fishery cannot be maintained by the current population size.
It is also assessed by the IUCN World Conservation Union as endangered.
Spiny dogfish, spurdog, rock salmon or flake are all species of dogfish, which belong to the same family as sharks and rays.
Spurdogs are long-lived, slow growing and have a high age of maturity. These characteristics make them particularly vulnerable to high levels of fishing mortality. The north-east Atlantic stock is now considered to be depleted and may be in danger of collapse. Species also assessed as critically endangered by the IUCN.
Eels spawn in the sea and return to freshwater streams to grow. The European eel breeds in the mid-Atlantic Sargasso Sea.
There is one single European eel stock. This is severely depleted and at a historical minimum which continues to decline. Eels are exploited in all life stages and those that are fished do not have the chance to breed. Eels spawn only once in their lifetime and it is almost certain they die after spawning. Eels are also farmed but rely on juveniles from wild stocks.
There are two main stocks for European hake – a northern and southern stock. The northern stock is below the minimum biomass level recommended by marine scientists but harvested sustainably, and the southern stock is depleted. Avoid eating hake from depleted stocks and immature fish below about 50cms and during their breeding season, which is February to July.
Porbeagle is part of a group of sharks known collectively as mackerel sharks.
Sharks are vulnerable to exploitation because they are slow-growing, long-lived, and have low reproductive capacity. Porbeagle is assessed as critically endangered by the IUCN. Its north Atlantic population was seriously over-exploited by directed long-line fisheries up until the 1970s, when they became unprofitable. Since then there have been sporadic targeted fisheries for porbeagle and they are also caught as bycatch.
You should avoid eating any species of shark, which are caught not only for their meat but also for their fins. Shark-finning, for the Asian shark-fin soup market, is a wasteful and barbaric technique where fins are hacked off and sharks thrown back into the sea to die.
Plaice is a long-lived species and subject to high fishing pressure. Stocks in the Celtic Sea, western Channel, south-west Ireland and the west of Ireland are in decline and substantial reductions in fishing efforts are required to achieve sustainable stock levels.
Large numbers of undersized plaice are discarded in particular in areas of the southern North Sea that are trawled for sole and plaice. The Irish Sea stock is currently the only stock classified as healthy and harvested sustainably. Avoid eating immature plaice below 30cm and during their breeding season, from January to March.
You should avoid eating seabass captured by nets that trawl the bottom of the sea. These fisheries target spawning and pre-spawning fish, are responsible for high levels of dolphin by-catch, and deplete stocks available for inshore and recreational fisheries. Choose line or net-caught fish, and ensure that nets are dolphin-friendly.
Line-caught seabass is a more sustainable choice. Choose fish which has been sustainably caught by handlining methods in the south-west of England, which is identified by a tag in its gill.
The common skate is the largest European flat fish, with females reaching lengths of 285cm and males 205cm. They are found in the north-east Atlantic from Madeira and northern Morocco to Iceland and northern Norway.
Common, long-nose, black and white skate are all endangered species. The common skate belies its name as it is becoming very rare in UK shallow seas and in European waters, and has been assessed as critically endangered by the IUCN.
North Sea Dover or common sole stock is classified as healthy and harvested sustainably. Stocks in Skaggerak and Kattegat, the Eastern Channel and Celtic Sea are also healthy but the level of fishing pressure is considered too high or unknown. Stocks in the Western Channel and Biscay are below the minimum level recommended by scientists and harvested unsustainably.
Avoid eating fish caught in these areas, as well as south-west Ireland, where the state of the stock is unknown and catches the lowest on record. Dover sole from the Hastings Fleet trammel net fishery in the Eastern Channel is certified as an environmentally responsible fishery. Avoid eating immature sole (less than 28cm) and fish caught during the breeding season (April-June).
Whitebait are the fry (young) of herring and sprat. As with any fishery’s future, sustainability relies on young fish being allowed to mature and reproduce to maintain the population. Taking juveniles before they have a chance to spawn undermines future sustainability.
Fish that are OK:
The black bream is one of two species commonly found in northern European seas. It has sweet, firm flesh and is being found on more menus in eateries around the UK.
Choose line-caught fish where available, or fish taken in fixed nets where measures to deter marine mammals have been adopted. Avoid eating immature fish (less than 23cm) caught prior to and during their spawning season (April and May in UK inshore waters), so that they have the chance to spawn or reproduce. The most sustainable stocks are from Cornwall or north-west and northern Wales.
Gurnard (grey and red)
Gurnards belong to a group of fish known collectively as Trigliadae, or sea robins.
Grey gurnard are taken as by-catch in trawl fisheries in deeper offshore waters, but its firm flesh is considered to have a robust flavour. and they, along with yellow or tub, are under less pressure than red gurnard. Avoid eating immature fish (less than 24cm) and fresh (not previously frozen) fish caught during the spawning season (April-August).
The fishery for lemon sole is largely unregulated. Taken as by-catch in trawl fisheries. Only stocks in Norwegian and North Seas are subject to mixed quota restrictions. Choose otter-trawled fish landed in Cornwall where a minimum landing size (25 cms) above the size at which it matures is enforced. Avoid eating immature fish (below 25 cm) and during its breeding period April-August.
Mackerel is a fast-swimming species belonging to a group of fish known as the scombrid family, which are related to the tuna.
It’s an oily fish with a distinctive flavour. Stocks are healthy, except in the North Sea. You can increase the sustainability of the fish you eat by choosing line- or net-caught fish from fisheries certified by the MSC. Mackerel taken by handline is an even better choice as this method only targets mackerel.
A common flatfish found in shelf seas throughout the north-east Atlantic, megrim and the closely related witch are members of the sole family. Figures show that 90% of Britain’s megrim and witch catch is exported to the continent.
Choose megrim that is otter-trawled (where the mouth of the net remains open) from waters in the west of Ireland and the Western Channel where stock is classified as healthy. Avoid eating immature fish (less than 25cms) and during their spawning season (January to April).
Distributed throughout the north-east Atlantic, pollack is championed as the best substitute for cod and haddock.
It is a by-catch of cod and the best choice to make, in terms of selectivity and sustainability, is line-caught pollack. Avoid eating immature fish (below 50cm) and during its breeding season (January to April).
Whiting are a low-value species and often discarded in large quantities. The English Channel stock is currently the only stock assessed by marine scientists as having full reproductive capacity and being healthy. Avoid eating immature fish (less than 30 cms), and fresh (not previously frozen) fish caught during the spawning season (March-April).