• Ethical Edition

Sustainability Sunday #2

“What do you mean you’re out of tuna?!”

I was in Sainsbury’s, hangry (definition: hungry-angry), craving fish (a bit weird I know) and there was no tuna to make the fishcakes I’d been dreaming about all afternoon (see the recipe here).

Having initially intended to do a degree in Marine Biology rather than just Environmental Science, and having been the proud owner of a tropical fish tank since the age of 10 I’m a little more invested in the idea of sustainable fishing than most people. But I’m telling you, it’s really important to firstly know where your food is coming from and secondly to know that your tea isn’t wiping out the ocean ecosystems. I check the labels of every piece of fish I buy to be sure of both these things.

Sainsbury’s being out of tuna = no access to John West tuna for me. John


Sustainability Promise which is why it’s always my first choice. So what do I go for instead? I peruse the fish section and settle on some Salmon, sourced from the West Pacific and stamped to say so.

Finding something good for you and good for the environment can be a bit of a faff, especially in a busy shop on your way home from work so here’s a few things you can bear in mind to help you make a good choice:

Which fish are sustainable?

The most common fishes that are sourced/farmed sustainably are:

  1. Cod

  2. Haddock

  3. Wild Pacific Salmon

  4. Cold water prawns

  5. Plaice

  6. Herring

  7. Tuna

It is important to note that these types of fish aren’t always sourced/farmed sustainably, they are still wild caught by many fisheries so always check the label.

What labels should you be looking for?


Which fish aren’t sustainable?

  1. Atlantic cod (from the Irish Sea, Faroes Bank, Rockall, West Scotland, Greenland, Norwegian Coast, North Sea, Western Channel)

  2. Haddock (from West Scotland and Faroes)

  3. Herring (from West Ireland & West Scotland)

  4. Lobster (from Southern New England)

  5. Salmon (from the Atlantic or wild caught)

  6. Scampi (from Spain or Portugal)

  7. Tuna (from the Indian Ocean, Altlantic or Central West Pacific)

  8. Mackerel – in general it isn’t usually sustainably farmed

If you’re going to the local fishmonger, there isn’t any guarantee that it’s sustainable fish, even though it might feel like it. Having said that, you do get the chance to ask your fishmonger where it’s from and how it was caught – they should know this. Never buy fish caught by bottom trawling*, fish usually caught by this method are shrimp, cod and sole.

Once you know what to look for, it’s super easy to find favourites that you know are a dead cert for being easy, appetizing and environmentally-friendly.


*Bottom trawling: an industrial fishing method where a large net, pinned down by heavy weights, is dragged across the seafloor, scooping everything in it’s path. This includes fish that weren’t intended to be caught and their habitat. Once the net is full everything is hauled up on deck where all except the desired fish are discarded or thrown back into the sea traumatised or injured (Ref:

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