fish test
Which labels?
fair trade
fish test
Which labels?
fair trade

The fishing and aquaculture industries make a significant contribution to feeding humanity. The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) estimates that more than 3 billion people worldwide obtain around 20 % of their animal protein requirements from fishes.

However, some marine populations are dangerously overfished. They can only recover if fewer fishes are caught – this is urgently needed to ensure the future food security of mankind!

The unimaginably large amount of fishes caught in fisheries and bred in aquacultures is also a reason why the welfare of the individual fish is being overlooked. The focus on fish welfare and the realisation of findings in this regard is only possible if the „how“ but also the „how much“ changes.

Particularly in countries that do not rely on fishes for food security, such as Switzerland and large parts of Europe, fair‑fish is striving to significantly reduce both human consumption of fishes and the processing of fishes into animal feed.

„So, it only helps to quit eating fishes?“, you are surely asking now.

Influence through the shopping basket

It is not necessary to abstain from eating fishes completely, but it certainly makes sense to limit it to a small amount. Eating less fishes and having informed purchasing decisions is better for nature, animals, and humans. As a consumer, you have the opportunity to influence the fishing and aquaculture industry through your consumer decision. With conscious shopping and targeted demand, you can help to bring responsible products to the forefront – and unacceptable products to the background.

With the fish test, fair‑fish offers you a tool that can help you to buy and enjoy to eat fishes with a clear conscience.

Everyone knows that our oceans are suffering from massive overfishing and that many populations of fishes are on the verge of collapse. If you would like to help us improve the situation, then eat fishes from sustainably fished regions. How do you do that? It's simple: use our fish test!

The fish test helps you make the right choice

The fish test helps to maintain healthy fish populations. Enter the information on the packaging or in the restaurant menu into the online questionnaire. The fish test uses up-to-date information to assess whether the fishes in question are healthy and whether a credible label is available. It also weighs up the impact of a particular fishing method on the environment. When you fill in the form, you will receive a summary of interesting information.

Further information can be found on the fish test website

(Note: The fish test is currently being completely revised.)

Have you ever looked closely at your can of tuna and found a label or seal on it? There are around 20 labels on the market for products made from fish and seafood. They contain the word „organic“ or come from ASC, MSC, Naturland, or Friend of the Sea.

Unfortunately, you can't tell from these labels what these organistions value when awarding them – and the criteria can vary greatly. Nevertheless, fair‑fish finds products with a label better than those without. Labels signalise that attempts are being made to improve the current situation with regard to certain aspects such as sustainability, bycatch, and feed quality, and also to ensure that the requirements have been met.

When shopping, bear in mind, however, that a label does not necessarily fulfil your expectations. For example, there is currently no label that pays attention to fish welfare in the way fair‑fish would recommend.

Labels often only cover selected species and certain regions. The certification process is also not sufficiently transparent. There are sad examples where the requirements have been watered down to make it easier for the industry to fulfil them. Whether certified aquacultures or fisheries actually comply with the requirements is too rarely and not independently verified.

For less fish suffering

fair‑fish is in favour of including fish welfare in labels:

  • In the Carefish/farm project, we worked with FishEthoGroup to develop fish welfare criteria for the Friend of the Sea label for aquacultures.
  • The Carefish/catch project is dedicated to the development of fish welfare criteria for fisheries certified by Friend of the Sea.

You have probably long been familiar with the term „fair trade“. Thanks to years of commitment by organisations and Third World shops, most industrialised countries now offer a wide range of products from developing countries at fair prices for the benefit of the producers living there.

Only Fair Trade fishes are still nowhere to be found on the market. This is astonishing, as fishes are one of the most traded products from South to North – and this trade in particular is usually more exploitative than fair.

The fair‑fish Senegal project

From 2004 to 2010, fair‑fish worked together with small fisheries in Senegal to establish an export of fishes to Europe. In addition to animal welfare concerns, the project also pursued a problem that remains unresolved to this day: the fair remuneration of all those involved in the supply chain. You can download the fishing guidelines that emerged from this project – the first and so far only of their kind – at the bottom of this page.

As no trading partner in Europe was prepared to support a step-by-step development, the project had to be cancelled in 2010. So far, we have not been able to finance a new edition of the project.