Which fish can I eat?

Background - 27 March, 2014
There is never just one fix for everything, but fish guides are a good place to start because there are some fish that are in such deep trouble they need special attention.

We have listed the most serious ones on the Greenpeace International Red List. If you can’t find your favourite fish on this list, it doesn’t necessarily mean it is okay to eat. In different countries different types of fish should be avoided and you can find a list of local Greenpeace fish guides and lists from other organisations  here.

Feel free to share these lists with your family and friends and especially share them with your local supermarkets and restaurants, schools or in your workplace. Everyone can help be the change we want for the sea.

Help drive change

Another good option is to buy your fish from retailers and restaurants that have made a clear public commitment  to sourcing and selling better fish – they may not be perfect yet, but your support will encourage them on their journey.

And remember, if it is not labelled properly, and the fishmonger, shop owner or waiter can’t tell you what fish it is, where it’s from and how it is caught, just don’t buy it.

Use and share the Build better businesses toolkit and get your local shops and businesses to be part of the solution.

The fish are on the Greenpeace International Seafood Red List because they have one or more of these issues:

  • They reproduce in a way that makes the very vulnerable to overfishing and is little or no data available to show that the stocks are healthy or that they are being fished at a sustainable rate. They are often sourced from overfished and depleted stocks, or are being fished at such a high rate that stocks are being depleted rapidly
  • The fishing methods used to catch the fish are often highly destructive to other oceans creatures and/or habitats.

The table is meant to be an “at a glance” reminder of the main species and the risks to them. Print it out and carry it with you. There is much more detail and some gorgeous fish pictures you can download and use on the Red List page.

How did these fish end up on the Red List?


Fisheries exploit species that are highly vulnerable to fishing pressure with no evidence that stocks can be maintained at a health level and/or unintentionally catches and kills other endangered species like turtles, sharks or dolphins.

Fisheries use methods that damage the seabed or impact on sensitive habitats.

Many stocks are overfished and/or management of the stocks is leading to their decline

Fisheries use methods that capture high amounts of fish that are thrown back into the sea dead or dying or it catches high amounts of immature fish.

In fisheries for this species pirate fishing (illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing) is a major problem. 2

Anglerfish or monkfish or goosefish          
Atlantic cod          
Atlantic halibut          
Atlantic salmon          
Common sole          
European plaice          
Greenland halibut          
Hoki or blue hake or blue grenadier          
Orange roughy or deep sea perch          
Patagonian toothfish or Chilean seabass          
Red fish or rockfish          
Skates and rays          
Tropical shrimp/prawn          
Tuna - main market species          


(1) Please check the species page in the Red List for more information about aquaculture issues.

(2) Any fishery that operates in areas, or target species, for which no conservation and management measures exist are graded red. In regions where management exists, but IUU fishing is known to be a major problem, Greenpeace does not red-grade all fisheries in the area, but highlights the issue so that more care is taken when sourcing fish to prevent the trade of fish caught by owners and/or operators of vessels engaging in IUU. Please visit the pirate fishing pages and the Greenpeace 'red-grade' criteria for unsustainable fisheries for more details.

View the Red List