Avoid Eating Endangered Fish

Avoid eating over-fished and threatened fish species.

Increasing our awareness of which fish are being harvested to the brink of extinction, can help us modify our fish eating and buying habits and cease plundering an invisible ecosystem that is in a state of stress and serious decline. Becoming aware of the impact of caged fisheries on our estuaries, bays, oceans, pond systems and wetlands will help us make informed choices next time we are at the fishmongers.

How to do it now!

Eat sustainable fish species.

Species least endangered and a better choice for eating include:

  • Australian Salmon

  • Blue Swimmer Crab - Crab, Sand Crab, Bluey, Blue Manta Crab

  • Bream

  • Calamari, Cuttlefish, Octopus, Squid

  • Flathead

  • King George Whiting - Black Whiting, South Australian Whiting, Spotted Whiting

  • Leatherjacket - Ocean Jacket, Seine Boat jacket, Silver flounder, Chinaman, Yellow Jacket, Triggerfish, Butterfish

  • Mullet - Blue-tail, Fan-tail, Flicker, Umping, Nano, Sand, Yellow-eye

  • Mulloway - Butterfish, King Jewfish, Kingfish, River Kingfish

  • Trevally

  • Western Rock lobster - Western Australian Crayfish, Western Cray

  • Whiting - Sand, Eastern School, Western School, Stout (Winter), Trumpeter, Western Trumpeter, Yellowfin

  • Yellow-tail Kingfish - Kingfish, Tasmanian Yellowtail, Kingie, Yellowtail

  • Abalone

  • Blue Mussel - Mussel

  • Crayfish - Marron, Redclaw, Yabby

  • Oysters

Fish species that are overfished and endangered and to be avoided include:

  • Blue Warehou - Trevally, Sea Bream, Snotty Trevalla

  • Commercial Scallop (Bass Strait) - Southern Scallop

  • Deepwater Shark - Flake, Boneless Fillet

  • Eastern Gemfish - Hake, King Couta, Silver Kingfish

  • Orange Roughy - Deep Sea Perch, Sea Perch

  • Oreos (black, smooth, spiky, warty) - Dory, Deep Sea Dory, Spotted Dory

  • Redfish - Nannygai, 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 & RaysFlake, Boneless Fillet, Stingray flaps

  • Yellowfin Tuna – Wider Pacific OceanTuna

Source: Australian Marine Conservation Society

Other organisations working towards a sustainable fishing industry include:

  • Australian Marine Conservation Society is Australia's only national charity dedicated exclusively to protecting ocean wildlife and their homes.

  • OceanWatch Australia is a national environmental, not-for-profit company that works to achieve sustainability in the Australian seafood industry by protecting and enhancing fish habitats, improving water quality and advancing the sustainability of fisheries through action based partnerships with the Australian seafood industry, government, natural resource managers, business and the community. Visit their website to get involved and informed.

  • Save our Marine Life is a growing community of people and organisations working to protect our unique marine life. Visit their website and add your voice to protect Australia's unique South West marine life by establishing a network of large marine sanctuaries.

Why is this action important?

Establishing a sustainable balance in our harvesting of wild fisheries is essential to ward off the possibility of species collapse and the ramifications this may have on our ocean, estuary and river ecosystems. To treat the ocean as a "magic pudding" while defiling the rivers and estuaries where fish breed and spawn is irresponsible and short sighted.

Environmental benefit

Through this action, we choose not to contribute to the decline of those fish species we know to be in trouble. Whereas fifty years ago only coastal seas to a depth of 50 metres were fished, today's fishing covers the entire ocean with gillnet, deep-sea longline fishing to depths over 200 metres. Put simply, we are sucking the ocean dry, with little or no understanding of the dangers of ecosystem collapse nor what sustainable fishing means in practice.

Wellbeing benefit

Reducing the amount of fish we consume may be a prudent way to avoid some of the man-made toxins that are increasingly entering the coastal ocean areas and contaminating seafood. Mercury turns into its organic form, methylmercury, and accumulates in the tissue of tuna, swordfish and shark (large, old fish at the top of the food chain). Chemicals such as DDT and PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyl), dioxin, toxaphene, and dieldrin can accumulate in fish (especially farm-fed fish) and are all suspected to cause cancer in people.