Improvement in volumes of sustainable fish

05 Mar 2013

The Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP) has published a new report that shows a big improvement in volumes of sustainable fish, but also shows that many fisheries are failing to improve.

Covering 51 principal whitefish fisheries around the world, the report found that 41.5% of the total volume of whitefish supplied to market comes from fisheries in a very good condition (category A); 37.5% of the total volume of whitefish supplied to market comes from fisheries that are in good shape but would benefit from improvements in management regime (category B); and 21% of the total volume of whitefish comes from fisheries that have not been effectively managed and significant improvements are required (category C). 

A large volume of whitefish comes from fisheries in good condition while the majority of whitefish fisheries are in a poor state. 11 (22%) fisheries fall in category A, 13 (26%) in category B and 27 (52%) in category C. The situation is particularly polarized for the 17 cod fisheries - 4 (24%) are in category A and 13 (76%) in category C.

Many of the fisheries that need to improve do not have Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs) in place – this situation is particularly acute for cod.

SFP calculates that if all whitefish fisheries were managed effectively, the likely catch in 2020 could be 6,788,400 tonnes. This would deliver almost a million additional tonnes of whitefish compared to most recent landings.

Commenting on the report, Jim Cannon, CEO of Sustainable Fisheries Partnership, said, “This report shows that whitefish fisheries are essentially divided into two camps – some are doing very well indeed while others remain in a poor condition. It’s great news that the total volume of sustainably caught whitefish is rising but the industry must not lose sight of the need to deliver fishery improvement projects where they are urgently required. Consumers can certainly eat cod from well-managed fisheries with a clean conscience but should spare a thought for the fisheries that are not doing so well.”

The full report and supporting tables can be viewed at

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