Never mind the pollocks: the Good Fish Guide app is here!

We all love a fish supper, in the U.K. alone, a whopping 25 million portions of fish and chips are served each year! However with 85% of global fish stocks now designated as over-exploited and big-fish stocks (tuna/swordfish/cod) plummeting in abundance by 90% since 1950, what can we do to keep fish in our seas and on our plates?

ghost fishing

Fish in the sea plus fish on the plate does not have to equal exploitation of the oceans?

It’s a problem all round, well publicised by Hugh’s Fish Fight ( that sought to inform us about the problems of over-fishing, our continued over-dependence on the big 3 (tuna/salmon/cod) and the waste of discarded fish. Thanks to incredible public support the EU are now implementing laws to ban discards of dead, edible fish, but with all the bombardment of information available, how can we the consumer, continue to eat fish and feel secure that is has been responsibly sourced?


A large scale fishery (400 tonnes of mackerel caught by purse seine nets in Chile)

I have recently discovered that the new Good Fish Guide is available as an app, which can be downloaded to any mobile phone (with internet or as a leaflet for those without…) and which provides clear advice on which fish species and stocks are best! The app is designed and maintained by the Marine Conservation Society which provides a trusted source of information based on the latest scientific research. Available to download here:

fish guide

The Good Fish Guide webpages

The app shows all edible fish and shellfish (listed alphabetically) with a short bio on each species and traffic-light style rating of their sustainability, alongside search functions to check your favourites and suggestions for fish currently in season with delicious recipes. I have found it really helpful to swap some old (less-sustainable) favourites for tasty alternatives that are better for our oceans.

Good news for fish, fishermen and us! Fish supper all round please (sustainably sourced pollock that is!)


Fish for tea!

Further reading:

90% decline in big fish stocks story reported by National Geographic

Are we running out of fish? BBC News special

Hugh’s Fish Fight website


3 thoughts on “Never mind the pollocks: the Good Fish Guide app is here!

  1. Hello again. I’ve not forgot about your blog. Just really busy.
    Speaking of overfishing, I recently had the opportunity to go fishing in Ocean City, Maryland. I’m relatively new to fishing in the north east US. I caught several Tautog fish although none were within regulation size (16 inches) and so I had to release them. However, Wikipedia shows that Tautog are “Vulnerable.” How is it that Maryland doesn’t outright ban keeping these fish? (PDF page 33)

    Another curious thing Maryland does is allow live Green Crab to be sold and used as bait. I’ve read that Green Crab is an invasive species here. Maybe they shouldn’t have allowed Green Crab into the state in the first place!

    Unfortunately, I didn’t find any dead sunfish…

    Thanks for the tip on The Good Fish Guide. I’ll have a look.


  2. Hello, that sounds like a great place to visit. Well, when it comes to listing species, this is usually undertaken by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature). If they lists a species as Vulnerable, they have specific management criteria that must be adhered to, such as your Tautog which may include setting minimum landing sizes so each fish has the chance to reproduce before recruiting to the local fishery etc. If you are interested, you can look up this species on the IUCN website to see their specific listing and management plans at:

    Interesting to hear about the Green Crab used as bait; perhaps this is another management plan, to use the crabs as bait to try increase demand for their capture and removal from the local ecosystem? Management of invasive species is an incredibly difficult task to approach!

    Thanks again for your comments and glad you liked the blog 🙂


  3. Thanks for the prompt response.
    Yes, of course I like your blog. It’s about fish and research. Two of my most favorite things. Although, my appreciation of fish is only at the fishing/scuba/curious spectator level. You’re an academic on entirely different level.

    Thanks for the link. While I was there, I talked to a local fishing guru about that 16 inch criteria. I told him I suspected that they had several people sample different areas and then picked a size so that only, say, 5% were larger than 16 inches in the sample. But that fellow thought that to be too scientific. He told me he suspected that Maryland just examined fishing logs from commercial fishing rigs and picked their size criteria from that.

    I have no idea about the green crab. What you say sounds very reasonable. I could be wrong, but I had the impression that allowing green crab’s use as bait is the reason it became an invasive species. That’s probably completely wrong though since it wouldn’t make sense to import a bunch of green crab from Europe to use as bait. So I have no idea how it ended up here. I mean nobody seems to eat green crab. Your explanation sounds more reasonable. They at least prohibit anyone from throwing live green crab back into the water.

    Ocean City is only one of a few limited places for me to fish in the ocean around here. The north east US is really not considered special and the water is as frigid cold as it is in the Pacific during the summer. It does have that classic boardwalk experience though. That seems to be a common theme for beach areas in the north east. I think you might find the Florida Keys more amazing for its coral reefs. You especially might appreciate the beaches in the Florida panhandle. That area of Florida has some of the highest ranked beaches in the US. And curious soft sand that doesn’t burn your feet even if it’s 35C outside. No coral reefs though. Those are only in southern Florida to my knowledge.


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