CJ Jackson, Director of Seafood By Design Ltd – running seafood classes held at Billingsgate in London, explains how to make sustainable choices when it comes to buying fish. All her courses focus on the best choices – both sustainable and seasonal.


If you'd like to eat more fish, browse our fish and seafood recipes, healthy salmon recipes, fish pie recipes and even get the kids eating more fish.

Side of salmon served in a roasting tin with new potatoes and green sauce

1. Mix up the fish you choose

  • Buy in-season and locally sourced if possible.
  • Choose different fish, not just your usual favourites – 80 per cent of the seafood we eat in the UK is made up of just five species: cod, haddock, salmon, tuna and prawns. This puts a lot of pressure on the sustainability of these species – so mix it up and try something new – why not swap cod for hake?
  • Trust your fishmonger – they should have all the knowledge about their product and be able to inspire you with some tasty alternatives.

To find out more, read our guides to seasonal eating.

Get cooking with these recipes:

Sustainable fish pie
Smoky hake, beans & greens

More like this

2. Stay informed

The Marine Conservation Society uses scientific research to gather information. They have an excellent website that's full of information and definitely one to keep an eye on each time you shop.

3. Look for the Marine Stewardship Council certification

The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certify seafood stocks considered to be fished at sustainable levels. This information is updated regularly. Many species carry the familiar blue tick logo on the label.

If you can’t see this, ask the fishmonger – sometimes small fisheries can’t afford the certification but do fish in a responsible way.

4. Read up on farmed fish

Currently more than 50 per cent of the seafood we consume is farmed. To enjoy seafood into the future, aquaculture has an important role to play. Many concerns about farmed practices have been addressed in some areas including the use of antibiotics, feeds and stocking density.

There are four global schemes responsible for the majority of certified aquaculture production – Aquaculture Stewardship Council, the Global Aquaculture Alliance Best Aquaculture Practice, GlobalG.A.P and Friend of the Sea.

5. Fishing equipment

Many fishermen are concerned about the impact that their fishing practices have on fish stocks. New initiatives include recycling fishing equipment and sending it to third world countries for re-use. Fishing for Litter is a scheme where fishermen are given large bags to gather debris collected in nets during fishing. They are also improving gear efficiency to lessen by-catch (unwanted species) and minimise damage to the seabed.

6. Seafish

Seafish are the authority that advise across the industry – from sea to plate. They cover everything from promoting the consumption of seafood, to improving the health of the consumer and ensuring fishermen are safe at sea.

Enjoyed this? Read more on sustainability

The BBC Good Food sustainability glossary
7 ways to drink sustainably
8 ways to be a better recycler
Our sustainability hub

CJ Jackson is the Director of Seafood by Design Ltd. She has written a number of books specialising in seafood and seasonal produce and teaches a range of courses on the subject.

Kerry Torrens BSc. (Hons) PgCert MBANT is a registered nutritionist with a post graduate diploma in Personalised Nutrition & Nutritional Therapy. She is a member of the British Association for Nutrition and Lifestyle Medicine (BANT) and a member of the Guild of Food Writers. Over the last two decades she has been a contributing author to a number of nutritional and cookery publications including BBC Good Food.


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