Bass, seabass (Farmed)

Dicentrarchus labrax

Method of production — Farmed
Production country — Europe
Production method — Open net pen
Certification — GLOBALG.A.P. certification
Picture of Bass, seabass (Farmed)

Sustainability rating three info

Sustainability overview

Updated: November 2019 

European Union and Turkey is a key producer of farmed sea bass. Seabass farmed in open net pens causes some environmental concerns. These concerns include pollution from both nutrients and organic matters that lead to environmental changes; escaped farmed fish; use of chemicals in production; interaction with local wildlife sometimes including lethal predator control and some concerns regarding regulatory controls. Seabass are carnivorous fish that require more fish in their diet that they actually produce, leading to a net loss of marine proteins and oils, the fish used to make their feed cannot be assured to be sourced from a sustainable supply. ASC, GLOBALG.A.P. & GAA BAP 3* and 4* certification addresses a number of these issues.

This rating is based on full compliance with certification requirements. Commercial buyers should therefore ensure that full compliance has been achieved in order for this rating to be applicable.

Feed Resources

Criterion score: -3 

The GLOBALG.A.P. Aquaculture Standard provides sound guidance to producers with regards to the provenance of feed inputs, however, it’s requirements still leave room for unsustainable/irresponsibly sourced feed inputs. The present iteration of the GLOBALG.A.P. Aquaculture Standard leaves the bar relatively low with regards to sustainable feed sourcing in order to allow producers in regions where totally sustainable feed input supply chains are not yet in place. Using the latest available data indicates that this species still has a high requirement of fish oil within its diet, therefore making it a net consumer of fish protein.


Environmental Impacts

Criterion score: 0

The requirements of the GLOBALG.A.P. Aquaculture Standard do much to mitigate against environmental impacts of production via specific, audited criteria. This include limitations on chemical use and the monitoring of their impacts on water quality and the surrounding environment, escape prevention measures, organic pollution control and disease mitigation and prevention. As with the GAA BAP and ASC aquaculture standards, this Standard does not prohibit the use of lethal predator control - which is the negative driver pertaining to this section of the assessment


Fish Health and Welfare

Criterion score: 1

The GLOBALG.A.P. Aquaculture Standard includes criteria that address humane slaughter and animal welfare. This ensures that welfare of fish is achieved and maintained throughout production and that slaughter minimizes stress levels and ensures flesh quality



Criterion score: 4

Allocated Aquaculture Zones are in place or in development in the main producing countries for this species, namely Greece and Turkey. This AZA concept is also incorporated into the EU’s Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) Protocol. The GLOBALG.A.P. standard criteria address all issues that you would expect to be covered by good country level regulation, and these are deemed to be effective due to the independent audit carried out to confirm compliance.

The GLOBALG.A.P. Aquaculture Standard incorporates aspects stipulated by the FAO Technical Guidelines on Aquaculture certification and the OIE Aquatic Animal Health Code. It is recognized both by the GFSI for food safety and GSSI at primary production level, covering key sustainability aspects for animal production for human consumption.


Production method

Open net pen

Seabass are farmed in open net pens allows which allows for interaction with the surrounding environment and therefore has to be managed in such a way as to minimise negative environmental and ecological impacts.


Based on method of production, fish type, and consumer rating: only fish rated 2 and below are included as an alternative in the list below. Click on a name to show the sustainable options available.

Basa, Tra, Catfish or Vietnamese River Cobbler
Cod, Atlantic Cod
Cod, Pacific Cod
Coley, Saithe
Hake, European
Monkfish, Anglerfish, White
Pollock, Alaska, Walleye
Spurdog, Spiny Dogfish, Dogfish, Rock Salmon or Flake
Sturgeon (Farmed)


Bass or seabass belongs to a family of spiny-finned fish called Moronidae, which are closely related to groupers. Bass breed from March to mid-June, mostly in April, in British coastal and offshore waters. From January to March in the Bay of Biscay and from February to May in the English Channel and eastern Celtic Sea. It is a long-lived and slow growing species - up to 30 years of age, and can achieve a length of up to 1m with a weight of 12kg. Male bass mature at 31-35cm (aged 3-6 years) and females mature at 40-45cm (aged 5-8 years). Once mature, bass may migrate within UK coastal waters and occasionally further offshore. Increases in sea water temperature in recent decades has likely led to a more northerly distribution of seabass as it is now found further north into the North Sea. Climate warming may also have lengthened the time adult seabass spend in the summer feeding areas. After spawning, seabass tend to return to the same coastal sites each year.


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