Available on its website or as an app, the guide helps buyers make more ethical food choices by rating fish, shellfish and seafood as Number 1 for a ‘Best Choice’ and 5 for a ‘Fish to Avoid’.
UK non-profit Marine Conservation Society (MCS) has evaluated 158 species, allowing users to find out how and where they are caught or farmed as well as information on stocks.
However, it may not be as simple as looking at the species.
Dover sole caught in the western English Channel and Cornwall or from Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)-certified ships in the North Sea is a number 2 ‘Good Choice’. But if it was caught in the Irish Sea or North Sea, it was probably trawled or electric-pulse trawled, which makes it a no-go number 5.
While jig-caught squid (calamari) from the English Channel and Scotland is average amber 3 rated, elsewhere, squid stocks are limited and poorly managed so the MCS rates squid as a ‘Fish to Avoid’.
Chipshop favourite haddock was under threat but stocks are gradually improving. North Sea and West Scotland haddock is now a number 2 Good Choice. and if your haddock comes from Scotland’s Rockall Fishery, it’s a guilt-free Best Choice, says the MCS.
High-end restaurants don’t necessarily serve the most sustainable seafood – and vice versa.
“If you shun fast food, assuming a fish burger may be nothing more than the scrapings off the factory floor, think again,” says the MCS. “Fast-food giant McDonalds uses Alaskan Pollock in its Filet O Fish.”
This is a number 1 ‘Best Choice’ and it’s also MSC-certified.
“It’s vital that the public, chefs, retailers and fish buyers keep referring to the Good Fish Guide website to have the most up-to-date sustainable seafood advice,” says the MCS.