A charity is warning people against eating wild-caught sea bass from French and Spanish waters in a bid to protect dolphins and porpoises.
The Marine Conservation Society instead encourages consumers to choose farmed king and queen scallops which have just moved into the charity’s “Best Choice list”.
The charity updated its 2020 Good Fish Guide on Tuesday by adding sea bass from the southern Bay of Biscay and Atlantic Iberian waters to its “fish to avoid” list because of a serious risk to local dolphin and porpoise populations.
Charlotte Coombes, the charity’s Good Fish Guide Manager said: “When you hear the term ‘dolphin friendly’ it’s most likely you think of tins of tuna.
“But why do we reserve our interest in dolphin friendly seafood for just tuna? By checking how seafood is caught, and getting familiar with different catch methods, you can ensure that all of your seafood is dolphin friendly, with or without the logo.”
The use of trawling and static nets in the southern Bay of Biscay and Atlantic Iberian waters has increasingly led to dolphins and porpoises getting caught as bycatch, said the conservation society.
It added that the problem is so severe the local dolphins and porpoises populations “could disappear”.
North Sea cod remains on the Marine Conservation Society’s red list after the stock size dropped last year and North Sea herring moved from green to amber because of the depletion of stock.
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Meanwhile Dover sole from the eastern English Channel and the Irish Sea joined the green rated Best Choice list as population sizes are slowly growing.
European hake, haddock and North Sea plaice were also listed in the green.
However the charity noted that sole caught in these areas by beam trawling is a damaging fishing method and it is therefore important to check the labels on packaging.
The guide warns that stocks are dangerously low for wild Atlantic salmon as the fish face a number of threats when they travel up river from the sea to spawn.
Ms Coombes added: “It’s important to consider the wider environmental impacts of the seafood you choose, which is why we encourage consumers to check where and how a species was caught or farmed, and why we outline all of this information in the Good Fish Guide.”