New seafood guide

Green Lifestyle

Sustainable seafood – now easier to choose than ever with an updated guide released today by the Australian Marine Conservation Society.


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Today, the Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) released an updated version of their popular Sustainable Seafood Guide.

In keeping with the previous guide, there's a simple traffic light system: green-listed species are considered a better choice, while consumers are encouraged to eat less amber-listed species, and to avoid eating red-listed seafood.

To come to the new assessments, all the most recent and relevant fishery and aquaculture reports were gathered from state, territory and commonwealth governments. Importantly, where an over-fished species is listed in the guide, a suitable, more sustainable alternative is offered for Australian consumers.

Tooni Mahto, Fisheries Campaigner for AMCS said, “since the guide was first published in 2004, we have seen some improvements, with the aquaculture industry in particular more engaged in the sustainable seafood debate.”

“For example, farmed Australian prawns and farmed barramundi are now on our best choice list – they were both amber in the previous guide, so both sectors have really improved,” says Mahto.

Mahto adds that there are also new “sectors of the fishing industry innovating ways to reduce impacts on threatened species”.

Taking into account not only over-fished species, the AMCS guide also looks at the impact fishing methods have on marine habitats and on threatened marine life like turtles and dolphins.

The release of the guide today is accompanied by the release of the top 11 seafood choices of Australians.

Mahto said that, “the sustainable seafood revolution is well underway in Australia. Australians are doing a good job, with six of our top 11 species a good choice, or okay to eat occasionally”.

“But five out of our top 11 favourite fish still come with a hefty environmental cost on our oceans.”

“The good news is that by making better choices, we can improve that record and work towards making our favourite seafood a better choice,” claims Mahto. Check out the table listed below for the full list, as well as the sustainable alternatives.

Richard Webb of Swampdog Fish and Chips ( in South Brisbane, Queensland, says the guide, “helps consumers and chefs access a wide variety of seafood from a broad range of Australian and international fisheries, as well as farmed seafood”.

Looking at internationally-sourced fish is important in Australia, as 75 per cent of the seafood sold here is imported.

"It’s also good to see more information on locally available seafood, which so many of us are keen to buy. I’d highly recommend it,” said Webb.

The guide is available for free as an Android, iPhone, iPad or online app, and as a hard copy. Visit or download the app from ITunes or Google play.


Australia’s top 11 seafood choices and how they rank, according to AMCS (2014):

1 Atlantic Salmon Australian Farmed Amber Green – Spanish mackerel
Green – Tailor (NSW, WA)
2 Imported prawns Imported Farmed Red Green – Australian farmed prawn
Green – Bay prawns wild caught from QLD
3 Australian prawns Australian Wild caught & Farmed Green – Farmed
Mostly Amber – Wild
Green – Bay prawns wild caught from QLD
4 Squid & Octopus Imported Wild caught Red Green – Australian wild caught octopus from TAS or SA
Green – Gould's squid
5 Blue grenadier (hoki) Imported Wild caught Red Green – Australian salmon
Green – Dusky flathead (NSW, VIC)
Amber – Blue grenadier from Australia
6 Shark (flake) Australian 
& Imported
Wild caught Red Green – King George whiting
Green – Dusky flathead (NSW, VIC)
7 Barramundi Australian Farmed &
Wild caught
Red – QLD
Amber – NT & WA
Green – Farmed barramundi
8 Crabs Australian Wild caught Green – Spanner crab
Green – Mud crab (QLD, NT)
Amber – Blue swimmer (QLD, NSW)
9 Snapper Australian 
& Imported
Wild caught Red Yellowfin bream from NSW or QLD – Green
10 Mullet Australian Wild caught Green – Yelloweye Mullet
Green – Sea Mullet (NSW, WA)
11 Flathead Australian Wild caught Green – Dusky flathead (NSW, VIC)
Amber – Tiger flathead