Sustainable Fishing: How to Be a Responsible Consumer

By Mariam Digges

Sustainable Fishing: How to Be a Responsible Consumer
80 per cent of the world's fish stocks are over-exploited. But, by thinking carefully about our fish choices, we can ensure the future of our oceans and seafoods is protected.

Overfishing a vast problem throughout the world’s oceans. The seafood you eat today impacts the future of our oceans, and could mean the difference between your grandchildren enjoying the taste of seafood that we do today, and not.

An overwhelming 80% of the world’s fish stocks are now over-exploited. It’s a scary thought, considering that if we are to continue at this rate, we will be completely fished out in less than 50 years. But, if we think carefully about our seafood choices, and make more informed decisions, we can dramatically reverse this, and ensure that the future of our oceans is protected.

Just as important as the species of fish we choose to eat, is the way it has been caught. Becoming aware of the impact of caged fisheries on our estuaries, oceans, and other wetlands will help us make informed choices next time we visit our local fishmongers. With so many different species of fish, and at times conflicting reports on what is considered sustainable, we recommend investing in a Sustainable Fishing guide from your local specialty bookshop. In the meantime, read our quick tips for making sustainable choices below.

Making Sustainable Choices

– Always ask your local fishmonger where the fish is from, and how it has been caught (line caught is the preference). It helps to build a relationship with them, as you will build trust this way and won’t be subject to a ‘quick sell’. Similar to your local butcher, having a local fishmonger will ensure you are only sold quality fish, and hopefully also, sustainably fished seafood, once he has clued onto this being an important factor for you.

– Always buy from a trusted or reputable supplier. Chain supermarkets don’t fall under this category.

– Buy local – Australian and New Zealand fishing practices are of a higher sustainability standard than most overseas catches, generally speaking.

– And finally, here is a list of fish options that are good choices, versus species which are under threat:

Choose to buy:

Australian Salmon  

Blue Swimmer  


Calamari, Cuttlefish, Octopus, Squid  


King George Whiting  





Western Rock lobster  


Yellow-tail Kingfish  


Blue Mussel  



Choose not to buy (overfished)

Blue Warehou (Trevally, Sea Bream, Snotty Trevalla)

Commercial Scallop (Bas Strait)

Deepwater Shark (Flake)

Eastern Gemfish (Silver Kingfish)

Orange Roughy ( Deep Sea Perch, Sea Perch)

Oreos (Dory, Deep Sea Dory, Spotted Dory)

Redfish (Red Snapper)

School Shark (Flake, Tope, Boneless Fillet)

Silver Trevally (White Trevally)

Southern Bluefin Tuna (Tuna)

Also, avoid vulnerable and heavily fished species:

Bigeye Tuna (Tuna, Bigeye)

Broadbill Swordfish  (Swordfish)

Sharks & Rays ( Flake, Boneless Fillet, Stingray flaps)

Yellowfin Tuna  (Wider Pacific Ocean)

These fish are listed as part of the Eastern Region Alliance.

If you want to try some great fish recipes, try our Moroccan Spiced Fish with Pea Purée or Sicilian Baked Garfish.

Or for a more comforting option for the cooler days, try our Mediterranean Fish Soup.


Print Recipe


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