New advice on which fish to eat and to avoid

The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) has updated its advice, 25th September 2014, on which fish species/stocks consumers should purchase or avoid.

Salmon Leaping at Falls of Shin, Scotland

Salmon leaping at Falls of Shin, Scotland.
Photograph: Alamy

MCS states: British consumers are to avoid buying and eating wild-caught salmon because of concerns about depleted stocks resulting from overfishing.

In the Marine Conservation Society’s (MCS) update of its sustainable seafood guide, wild-caught Atlantic salmon remains on the ‘danger list’ along with some whiting — often suggested as a good alternative to cod and plaice. But the new ratings reveal better news for mackerel, herring and halibut as stocks are improving.

Fish to avoid

  • North sea cod
  • Halibut that’s wild-caught in the Atlantic
  • Salmon that’s wild-caught in Atlantic
  • Dover from west of Ireland and Irish sea
  • Mediterranean tuna (Albacore)
  • Portuguese coast scampi

In its ongoing assessment of the state of health of the UK’s fisheries and stocks, the MCS noted that in Scotland, lack of measures to prevent overfishing of salmon from rivers where stocks are low, and the absence of internationally recognised conservation limits, have resulted in the species slipping onto the red-rated, ‘Fish to Avoid’ list.

Fish to eat

  • Cod from the north-east Arctic, east Baltic Sea and Iceland
  • Haddock from the North Sea, Skagerak, Kattegat, Iceland
  • Seabass — only farmed
  • Turbot — only farmed
  • Whiting from the Celtic Sea
  • Mackerel — only from south-west England (handlined)


Mackerel Fishing off North Beach, Tenby, Pembrokeshire West Wales UK

Mackerel fishing off North Beach, Tenby, Pembrokeshire, Wales
Photograph: Alamy

The updated guide includes additional entries for lobster and crab and new entries for cuttlefish and squid. The best sources for lobsters are from fisheries where there are measures in force to protect ‘berried’ or egg-bearing females. Current legislation prohibits the landing of berried crab but not lobster. Lobster from the South-west, Cornwall, and crab from the western channel and the Celtic Sea are the most sustainable choices.

Source: The Guardian, 25th September 2014. For full details, see

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