New Good Fish Guide ratings spell trouble for trawled cuttlefish

Erin O'Neill By: Erin O'Neill
Date posted: 12 March 2020

The latest update to our Good Fish Guide ratings are out today and we’re sad to see trawl-caught cuttlefish from the English Channel move onto our list of red rated ‘Fish to Avoid’.


Between 2008 and 2017, catches of cuttlefish more than doubled.

Charlotte Coombes,
Good Fish Guide Manager

There has been dramatic growth in the number of cuttlefish caught in the last decade, which has been fuelled by a huge increase in their value. This, alongside reports identifying a decline in their populations in the English Channel, has led to a red rating.

Charlotte Coombes, MCS Good Fish Guide Manager said: “Between 2008 and 2017, catches of cuttlefish more than doubled. The dramatic increase in catches, alongside several reports identifying a rapid decline in cuttlefish populations in the English Channel, has led to a red rating in the update to the Good Fish Guide.”

Our Good Fish Guide uses a traffic light system to illustrate the sustainability of seafood available in the UK. Species are assessed based on a number of factors, including where they were caught or farmed and using which method. If you eat seafood, our Good Fish Guide can help you make the most sustainable choice.

Other movements include brown crab caught in creels around Shetland joining the green rated ‘Best Choice’ list. This comes after a reduction in fishing pressure and tighter controls on harvesting have helped it to bounce back. Atlantic wolffish caught in Iceland are no longer ‘Fish to Avoid’ and are now amber rated.

Non-certified pole & line-caught skipjack tuna from the Indian Ocean has moved off the Best Choice list and is now amber rated. Finally, all Isle of Man queen scallops are now red rated.

Due to fishing pressure, habitat damage and diminishing numbers, urgent action is required to recover red rated fish populations like the trawl-caught cuttlefish and the Isle of Man queen scallop.

Click here to take our pledge to ‘Say No to Red Rated’.

Actions you can take

  1. View the Good Fish Guide online
  2. Download our latest Aquaculture Methodology Version 3 / 2020
  3. Guidance on Habitat Scoring for MPAs
  4. View our previous ratings methodologies
  5. Download our LATEST Wild Capture Ratings Methodology (June 2018 onwards)
  6. Download Our Introduction to Seafood Ratings

Did you know?…

41% of North East Atlantic stocks including those around the UK are subject to overfishing

Farmed marine fin fish production in Scotland is estimated to increase by 30% between 2014-2020