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Seafood Guides Methodology

WWF developed three methodologies to assess the environmental sustainability of seafood species from wild-capture fisheries and aquacultures. These methodologies underpin the advice provided on the many consumer seafood guides that WWF has developed which guide consumers in making environmentally responsible seafood choices.


These methodologies are risk based and are regularly updated so that they remain relevant and scientifically robust. 

Although the methodologies can be accessed publicly, only trained assessors should use them to ensure that they are applied in a consistent way.  

For wild-capture fisheries, this includes scientific information on the status of the stock or vulnerability of the species to fishing pressure, along with environmental impacts of the fishing gear used and the effectiveness of the fishery management to ensure environmental sustainability.

For farmed species, the methodology looks at the use of resources such as water, energy and feed, the impacts that a specific aquaculture production system has on the surrounding environment, wildlife and communities, and the applicable management framework.

Fisheries and aquaculture experts conduct assessments of fisheries and aquacultures pursuant to these methodologies, making use of publicly available scientific data and documents to assess the environmental sustainability of seafood origins.

For further explanation of the methodologies and the assessments, please read our methodology explanations for wild capture fisheries.

WWF offices in each country develop fish guides suitable for their office location. The selection of species and origins is based on the market relevance of these for each individual country.

However, all guides use recommendations from a shared pool of WWF assessments and therefore provide consumers with the same recommendations for the same seafood species.

Please also note that due to individual publication cycles, some guides may be updated more quickly than others. In case of any discrepancy, please check the publication date or contact your local office for further information.

Get to know your seafood

Once considered inexhaustible, our oceans are now facing many major challenges. 61% of the world’s commercial marine fish stocks are fully exploited and 29% are overfished, unwanted bycatch continues to threaten many endangered species and poor management measures have resulted in $23.5 billion annually being lost to illegal, unreported and unregulated catches.

Yet the solutions are in our hands, so check out WWF's seafood guides because the seafood you choose can determine whether tomorrow’s generations will continue to enjoy the oceans’ riches.