Sustainable Seafood | Industries | WWF (2023)

As the largest traded food commodity in the world, seafood provides sustenance to billions of people worldwide.More than 3 billion people in the world rely on wild-caught and farmed seafood as a significant source of animal protein.

Historically, the seafood industry has significantly impacted the environment. The United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization estimates that 85% of marine fish stocks are either fully exploited or overfished. Similarly, many fisheries throughout the world throw away more fish than they keep. This incidental catch of non-target species—known as bycatch—is harmful to many species. Pollution from poorly managed and unsustainable seafood farms, also known as aquaculture, has caused the deterioration of coastal habitats, lakes, and rivers.

WWF works across the supply chain to protect marine habitats, the species that live within them and the communities that depend on seafood for their livelihoods and food security. Our goal is for both wild-caught and farmed seafood to be harvested with zero environmental impact while still meeting the increase in future demands from an ever-growing world population.

To ensure that you have the best environmental choices for seafood at your local grocery store or restaurant, WWF works to increase companies’ awareness and preferential purchasing of seafood that has been produced in a responsible manner. WWF helps to provide impactful and sustained improvements in the health of the world’s oceans by working together with the processing and retail sector to offer environmentally sound choices.


What seafood is sustainable? ›

What are the most sustainable types of seafood? The most sustainable picks range from farmed favorites such as tilapia and arctic char, to wild-caught stars like albacore tuna and rockfish.

What are 3 sustainable seafood options? ›

Here are some species that commonly make the list of the most sustainable fish to eat.
  • Anchovy (wild-caught in Peru, Chile) ...
  • Pacific cod (wild-caught in Alaska) ...
  • Arctic char (farmed) ...
  • Atlantic mackerel (wild-caught) ...
  • Haddock (wild-caught from the north-east Arctic, Iceland, the North Sea, Irish Sea)
Jul 16, 2021

Does sustainable seafood mean farm raised? ›

Seafood demand is growing fast, and the global supply of wild-capture fisheries has remained flat for more than 20 years—the ocean has given what it can. As such, the future of sustainable seafood must include both farm-raised and wild-capture seafood.

What is sustainable seafood and why should we be eating it? ›

When done correctly, sustainable seafood sourcing prevents overfishing, minimizes incidental impacts to other ocean wildlife and habitats, identifies and protects essential fish habitats, and takes into account the social and economic impacts on the communities from which the seafood is sourced.

What is the most ethical fish to eat? ›

  • 01 of 10. Anchovies. Getty Images / helovi. ...
  • 02 of 10. Arctic Char (Farmed) Getty Images / Foodcollection RF. ...
  • 03 of 10. Clams, Mussels, Oysters, and Scallops (Farmed) The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga. ...
  • 04 of 10. Hake. ...
  • 05 of 10. Prawns and Shrimp. ...
  • 06 of 10. Skipjack Tuna. ...
  • 07 of 10. Alaskan Salmon. ...
  • 08 of 10. Albacore Tuna.
Jan 3, 2023

What seafood is sustainable in the US? ›

Environmentally sustainable seafood is wild or farmed seafood that is harvested in ways that don't harm the environment or other wildlife — helping to ensure healthy and resilient ocean ecosystems.

Which seafood has the least environmental impact? ›

Eco-friendly best choices
  • Abalone (farmed - closed containment) Compare all Abalone.
  • Alaska cod (longline, pot, jig) Compare all Cod.
  • Albacore (U.S., Canada) Compare all Tuna.
  • Arctic char (farmed) ...
  • Atka mackerel (US - Alaska) ...
  • Atlantic calico scallops. ...
  • Atlantic croaker (beach seine) ...
  • Barramundi (Farmed - U.S.)

Is Costco shrimp sustainable? ›

Farmed Shrimp

Costco has been an active participant in the implementation of the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) shrimp standards from the early stages. These global, performance-based standards help to minimize key negative environmental and social impacts of shrimp farming.

What are smart seafood choices? ›

Other Best Seafood choices include:

Oysters (farmed) Pacific Sardines (wild-caught) Rainbow Trout (farmed) Salmon (wild-caught, from Alaska) Arctic Char (farmed)

Why is sustainable seafood an issue? ›

Why is sustainable seafood important? Seafood is an important source of protein for millions of people globally. Choosing sustainable seafood is important because it recognises and rewards sustainable fishing practices. This in turn supports livelihoods, communities, food security and healthy oceans teeming with life.

Is sustainable seafood healthy? ›

Enter: A Healthier You

Many sustainable fish varieties are high in protein, vitamins, minerals and heart-healthy omega-3s, while containing low amounts of harmful chemicals. Overfish seafood, such as Salmon and Tuna, more often than not, contain Mercury, PCBs, or contaminants.

Is sustainable seafood more expensive? ›

The cheap imports that are fished and farmed without the same regulations as in Australia, makes sustainably sourced seafood appear more expensive.

How can we eat seafood more sustainably? ›

5 Steps to Sustainable Seafood
  1. Diversify your choice & switch your fish! ...
  2. Educate yourself & ask questions. ...
  3. Buy Local. ...
  4. Fish is still meat, so make it a treat. ...
  5. Buy fresh & reduce plastic pollution.

Can I eat salmon sustainably? ›

Salmon carrying the blue MSC label is certified sustainable. MSC labelled salmon comes from a fishery that has been independently certified to the MSC Fisheries Standard.

Is it morally OK to eat fish? ›

Can Eating Fish Be Ethical? The ethics of eating fish are measured by two main components: sentience and justice. Sentience, or the capacity to feel pain and suffering, is the standard moral argument that ethical vegans present as their reason for not eating meat or fish.

What is the least polluted fish to eat? ›

Smaller fish—sardines, anchovies, farmed trout, fresh tilapia, arctic char—and bivalves such as scallops, clams, and oysters don't build up as many contaminants as do the large carnivores.

What is the cleanest eating fish? ›

The healthiest types of fish include those high in omega-3 fatty acids and have lower levels of mercury contamination, like Alaskan salmon.

What is the least sustainable fish? ›

Eco-worst choices
  • Abalone (farmed - sea ranching) Compare all Abalone.
  • Albacore (imported, longline) Compare all Tuna.
  • American eel. Compare all Eels.
  • American Shad. Compare all Shad.
  • Atlantic halibut. Compare all Halibut.
  • Atlantic pollock (Canada trawl) Compare all Pollock.
  • Atlantic sturgeon. Compare all Sturgeon.
  • Beluga sturgeon.

Is any shrimp sustainable? ›

Both shrimp and prawns can be sustainable; there are several MSC certified shrimp and prawn fisheries throughout the world.

What is the most sustainable shellfish? ›

In search of sustainable seafood options? Farmed mollusks like clams, mussels, and oysters are your best bet. Not only do they minimize impact on local ecosystems' natural biodiversity, they also clean the water in which they grow, thanks to their filter-feeding ways.

Is lobster sustainable seafood? ›

A major seafood guide announced Wednesday it no longer considers Maine's famed lobsters sustainable, given that whales on the brink of extinction are dying after becoming entangled in fishing gear.

What seafood has a low carbon footprint? ›

Choose seafood with a low carbon footprint like farmed mussels, clams, sardines or anchovies over beef, lamb or higher emission seafoods. Consider other environmental impacts when making dietary choices.

Which seafood has least Microplastics? ›

The research showed that microplastic content was 0 to 10.5 microplastics per gram in mollusks, 0.1 to 8.6 microplastics per gram in crustaceans and 0 to 2.9 microplastics per gram in fish.

What fish has the lowest carbon footprint? ›

Among all fish and seafood species, small schooling species such as anchovies, mackerel, and herring are the lowest carbon options, averaging around 80 litres of fuel per catch because fishermen use purse-like nets to surround these schools of fish.

Does Red Lobster use farmed shrimp? ›

We are proud to source a mindful combination of wild-caught and farm-raised shrimp from all over the world. In fact, our farm-raised shrimp was among the first to be Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) certified, and we're happy to support local fisheries to bring you wild-caught species, when possible.

Is Costco shrimp from China? ›

Costco shrimp is imported from Thailand:

SeaMazz “prime” shrimp are farm-raised and a product of Thailand:

What brand of shrimp is sustainable? ›

Look for the Marine Stewardship Council certification label to ensure you're getting sustainably fished shrimp. Brands that follow sustainable practices include Shrimper's Pride and Dominick's. While frozen has the fresh-ocean flavor, try Wild Planet's canned Oregon pink shrimp for a quick salad.

What seafood should be bought alive as possible? ›

The freshest clams, mussels, oysters, and other types of shellfish are sold alive—for most bivalves, as well as crab you want to buy them only live or cooked (which includes tinned, smoked, or steamed). Bivalves should be tightly closed or close when touched, and crab or lobster should be lively and reactive.

How do you buy ethical seafood? ›

Just look for the MSC blue fish tick label when shopping or dining. Seafood with the blue fish tick can be traced back to an MSC certified sustainable fishery. Find out more about sustainable seafood in our handy guide including what to look for, what questions to ask and what species are certified sustainable.

What seafood is sustainable and low mercury? ›

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans states that to consume those higher amounts, children should only be fed fish from the “Best Choices” list that are even lower in mercury – these fish are anchovies, Atlantic mackerel, catfish, clams, crab, crawfish, flounder, haddock, mullet, oysters, plaice, pollock, salmon, ...

Are shrimp sustainable? ›

Both shrimp and prawns can be sustainable; there are several MSC certified shrimp and prawn fisheries throughout the world.

What is the cleanest seafood to eat? ›

According to Seafood Watch, here are six fish that are healthy for you and the planet.
  1. Albacore Tuna (troll- or pole-caught, from the US or British Columbia) ...
  2. Salmon (wild-caught, Alaska) ...
  3. Oysters (farmed) ...
  4. Sardines, Pacific (wild-caught) ...
  5. Rainbow Trout (farmed) ...
  6. Freshwater Coho Salmon (farmed in tank systems, from the US)
Nov 16, 2018

Is Costco seafood sustainable? ›

Our major canned tuna suppliers are participants in the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation, which is undertaking science-based initiatives for the long-term conservation and sustainable use of tuna stocks, reducing bycatch and promoting ecosystem health.

Why shrimp is so unsustainable? ›

A steady stream of organic waste, chemicals and antibiotics from shrimp farms can pollute groundwater or coastal estuaries. Salt from the ponds can also seep into the groundwater and onto agricultural land. This has had lasting effects, changing the hydrology that provides the foundation of wetland ecosystems.

Are scallops sustainable? ›

Scallops and other bivalves are not only a sustainable option, they actually improve water quality and rebuild coastal habitats. Unlike mussels and oysters, scallops spend their lives resting on (rather than attached to) the seafloor, ready to swim away from predators.

Is crab a sustainable food? ›

U.S. wild-caught red king crab is a smart seafood choice because it is sustainably managed and responsibly harvested under U.S. regulations.

Are salmon sustainable? ›

Commercially fished from Washington up to Alaska, pink salmon is the most abundant Pacific salmon and a smart seafood choice because it is sustainably managed and generally not overfished.

What is the healthiest most sustainable fish? ›

Here are the best sustainable fish choices that are healthy for you—and the planet.
The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) has also posted health advisories on some of these fish.
  • Bluefin Tuna. ...
  • Orange Roughy. ...
  • Salmon, Farmed in Pens (Atlantic) ...
  • Mahi-Mahi (Costa Rica, Guatemala & Peru) ...
  • Halibut, Wild-Caught (Atlantic)
Mar 9, 2022

Is there an ethical way to eat fish? ›

Choose your species carefully

Fish that are safe to buy include dab, pouting, organic, farmed salmon and hand-picked cockles, while conger eel, swordfish and plaice are all off the menu. If you must eat cod, make sure it comes from the north-east Arctic or eastern Baltic, where stocks are healthy.

What is a sustainable alternative to cod? ›

A sustainable swap: hake

Thanks to good management and beneficial environmental conditions hake is now a great sustainable choice. European hake has a very similar texture to cod: meaty and flaky. Swapping is as simple as substituting same weight/quantity in almost all recipes.


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Jonah Leffler

Last Updated: 12/24/2023

Views: 5275

Rating: 4.4 / 5 (65 voted)

Reviews: 88% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Jonah Leffler

Birthday: 1997-10-27

Address: 8987 Kieth Ports, Luettgenland, CT 54657-9808

Phone: +2611128251586

Job: Mining Supervisor

Hobby: Worldbuilding, Electronics, Amateur radio, Skiing, Cycling, Jogging, Taxidermy

Introduction: My name is Jonah Leffler, I am a determined, faithful, outstanding, inexpensive, cheerful, determined, smiling person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.