ALL FISHED OUT - A recent United Nations study reported that more than two-thirds of the world's fisheries have collapsed or are currently being over fished. Much of the remaining one third is in a state of decline due to habitat degradation from pollution and climate change. Escalating amounts of point and non-point pollution continue to threaten water quality and fish habitat. Yet, the human population consumes over 100 million metric tons of fish annually and more than 25% of the world’s dietary protein is provided by fish.



The Good Fish Foundation (GFF) aims to accelerate the transition to a sustainable seafood sector by promoting market demand for sustainable seafood and by assisting consumers and businesses throughout the seafood supply chain in making informed and responsible buying decisions. The organisation targets producers, processors, traders, retailers, consumers and governments in the Netherlands and Europe.



Marine Conservation Society guidance to good fish


Anchovies | Bass | Bream | Catfish | Clams | Cod Coley | Crabs | Crayfish | Eels | Grouper | Haddock | Hake | Halibut | Herring | Jellyfish

Krill | Lobster | Mackerel | Marlin | Monkfish | Mullet | Mussels | Oysters | Perch | Plaice | Pollock | Prawns | Rays | Sablefish | Salmon

Sardines | Scallops | Sharks | Shrimp | Skate | Sole | Sprat | Squid | Sturgeon | Swordfish | Trout | Tuna | Turbot | Whiting





Millions of fisher men and women take to the oceans each day to feed local communities and a growing global appetite for seafood. Their catch and livelihoods are part of a $190 billion global seafood industry. In all, seafood now makes up 12-20% percent of the animal protein we consume and that demand is expected to double in the next two-decades. The challenge we now face is how to sustainably produce enough fish to meet this demand while maintaining healthy oceans with sharks, whales, turtles and other important marine life.


Several decades of overfishing in most of the world's major fisheries has created large declines in many commercially important fish populations across the world. Illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, today is recognized as a major threat to achieving sustainable fisheries.


By regulating the fish taken from any geographical fishery, we are actually doing the fishermen a good turn, because we are ensuring that there will be fish next year and the year after that for them to fish. This is what sustainability is all about.





You decided you want to eat fish and shellfish from fisheries that do not have an averse effect on the ocean or coastal waters. Sustainably caught or sustainably farmed fish so to say. Is this possible? The short answer is yes. The somewhat longer answer is yes, but as long as you make sure the fish is from a healthy population and harvested in a sustainable and non-destructive (precautionary) manner.

In case of farmed / fattened fish (aquaculture, mariculture) the fish or shellfish should not be fed with endangered wild fish 1 and the farm should not be an ecological hazard (e.g. pollution, risk of escaping fish) to the surrounding environment (including wild fish populations). As a rule of thumb we can also say that locally caught or locally raised fish and shellfish is more sustainable than fish caught or raised far away in a different country or continent.

Ideally no bad fish would be for sale but until that day comes it is best to be informed. As it's impossible for every consumer to do the full research "Good fish guides" or "Seafood guides" are practical tools in making smart choices.

A number of Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) maintain seafood guides / lists on fish to eat and to avoid. Aimed at consumers these lists are usually based on a simple colour system with green being good and red being bad. Not all list are of the same quality and not all NGOs follow the same methodology. In general these list do provide a good and easy buyers or consumers guide overview. Print a list on a small credit card sized piece of paper, stick it in you wallet, and always carry your environmentally friendly fish list with you!




THE GOOD FISH FOUNDATION - Actively promotes traceability in the seafood supply chain - Supports seafood (eco)labels and certification that ensure traceability – Advocates clear and detailed product information for consumers - Researches the effectiveness of the implementation of European IUU regulation in the Netherlands – Assists in the development of risk assessment tools for business in the seafood supply chain to control their exposure to IUU – Promotes traceability and transparency in the seafood supply chain. We need organizations like this to keep an eye on their patch.



Food and Agriculture Organization map of fish around the world


DWINDLING FISH STOCKS - Food security is a major problem the world will have to face as the available land for to grow crops reduces in competition with land for housing, as the population expands. The situation is far from sustainable and a bubble that will burst. When the bubble bursts it will cause the deaths of millions of people, where additional farming will create more carbon dioxide to heat the climate, making more land barren in a vicious circle that we must take steps to prevent happening. 





For any government agency that needs to track more than just the larger commercial ships in its waters, AIS and VMS mandates do not address the huge population of smaller vessels of interest. This leaves the vast majority of boats in their waters as ‘dark targets’, ultimately spreading an agency’s resources too thinly to monitor all of its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).





There is a growing demand for Good FISH. To be able to choose Good FISH, consumers need information about the seafood product; they need to know what fish species the product contains, how the fish was caught or farmed, where and by who. It is important that this information is clearly stated on the packaging or product label and that this information is correct. This is especially important for filleted fish, for which it is difficult to distinguish the species, making filleted products highly sensitive to fraud. Traceability is also important to be able to guarantee food safety and to tackle illegal practices in seafood trade.

In 2010, the European Union introduced regulation banning imports of illegally caught fish into the European market ((EC) 1005/2008). From the 14th of December 2014 product labels for seafood need to provide detailed product information, specifying among others the species name, the method by which it was caught and the origin (reg EU 1379/2013). The major challenge is how these measures will be implemented and effectively enforced.




Illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing practices frustrate good fisheries management: catches are underestimated and cannot be effectively controlled. IUU puts extra pressure on fish stocks and increases the risk of overfishing. This threatens food security, results in missing tax income, and creates unfair competition for businesses who do operate within the law.

For various reasons, fish from IUU fisheries can access the supply chain relatively easily, among others because there are multiple phases in seafood supply chain where IUU fish can be mixed with legally caught fish. IUU fishing is a major problem and it is estimated that in the United States alone 20 to 35% of all sold wild caught seafood comes from illegal or unreported fisheries. The economic losses associated with IUU have been estimated at 10 to 23,5 billion US dollars a year, worldwide. Illegal fishing is often affiliated with other crime such as whitewashing, tax evasion, human trafficking and drugs traffic. It is clear that tough measures are needed to clamp down on IUU.



NOAA fisheries conservation and management


NOAA - Fisheries tracks 473 fish stocks managed by 46 fishery management plans. They have rebuilt 40 stocks since 2000 as a result of their fishery management process. Overfishing and overfished numbers remained near all-time lows in 2015.



Fishing boat at sea





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3901 EH Veenendaal
the Netherlands


Tel.: +31 318 76 92 87

 Mobile: +31 624512051





Netherlands & Belgium

De Goede Vis Gids
   One of the best guides available. By Stichting De Noordzee. (in Dutch, French version, pdf)
   Good fish guide by Greenpeace Nederland. Printable credit card sized card. (in Dutch)

United Kingdom

Pocket fish purchasing guide
   Extensive purchasing guide by the Marine Conservation Society.
International seafood red list
   Illustrated what not to buy and "better buys". By Greenpeace UK / International. Good list with FAQ.


WWFs Fiskguide – din guide när du ska köpa miljövänlig fisk (seafood guide)
   By WWF Sweden. Printable credit card sized in PDF (in Swedish).

Seafood Guide
   By WWF Finland. Direct link to PDF. (in Finnish)

WWF-Einkaufsratgeber Fische & Meeresfruchte (seafood guide)
   Annotated purchasing guide. By WWF Germany. (in German)

Seafood Guide (German)
   Guide in French, German and Italian. By WWF Switzerland.

Sjømatguide (Seafood guide, Norwegian)
   By WWF Norway. Also a printable credit card sized in PDF (in Norwegian).

Seafood guide for Russia
   By WWF Russia. Direct link to printable credit card size PDF (in Russian).

The Americas



   A comprehensive national seafood program. List available in PDF as well.

United States of America

Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch
   Good list with regional guides for five different US regions.
Guide to Ocean Friendly Seafood
   Informative site and fish guides. By the Blue Ocean institute.


Asia & Oceania



Australia's Sustainable Seafood Guide
   Not free, only as book, not accessible online. From the Australian Marine Conservation Society.
Thanks For All The Fish
   Free. ABC Channel fish pages. Based on the Australian Marine Conservation Societies guide.


Seafood Guide
   Fish and shellfish guide for Indonesia. By WWF Indonesia. In English and Indonesian.

Hong Kong

Live Reef Food Fish
   Online fish ID guide of live reef food fish. By WWF Hong Kong.
Seafood Guide
   Fish and shellfish guide for Hong Kong. By WWF Hong Kong.




South Africa
Southern African Sustainable Seafood Initiative
   An extensive database that even includes distribution maps of many local species.
Good Fish Foundation develops and maintains This website contains more than 200 sustainability assessment of seafood as well as background information on sustainability issues and biology of species.
For café’s, restaurans, hotels and other food service professionals Good Fish Foundation offers, together with Let’sCO the food service programme ‘Goede VIS op de kaart’ (Good Fish on the menu). Jeroen Verbraeken is accountmanager of the programme.
Good Fish Foundation collaborates closely with North Sea Foundation. This NGO focuses on sustainable use of the North Sea and protection of marine habitats.
The Good Fish on the menu programme ‘Goede VIS op de kaart’ collaborates with rating site where restaurants serving sustainable seafood can be searched for.



Good fish foundation on aquaculture






 This website is provided on a free basis as a public information service. copyright © Cleaner Oceans Foundation Ltd (COFL) (Company No: 4674774) November 2017. Solar Studios, BN271RF, United Kingdom. COFL is a charity without share capital.