Sustainable fisheries

Sustainable fishing. What does it mean?

Sustainable fishing does not upset the natural balance of the marine ecosystem, leaves more fish in the seas and oceans, and favors other marine animals.

More and more often, as conscious consumers, we expect confirmation that the fish we buy come from sustainable fisheries in the Baltic Sea.

What are sustainable fisheries?

They have minimal impact on animals and the marine ecosystem. They are conducted responsibly, in accordance with applicable law. Shipowners must adapt to environmental conditions that are constantly changing and keep fishing at levels that ensure the continuation of the population of a given species.

Sustainable fishing has an impact on the future of the environment, ours and our children's future. It makes sense to support those companies that use responsible fishing practices and care about the sustainability of nature.

Sustainable fishing does not always mean catching fewer fish. It is about catching fish at an acceptable level (maximum sustainable yield), respecting scientific advice
oraz jednoczesnym oszczędzaniu stad, które są w gorszej kondycji. Istotne jest również stosowanie technik i selektywnych narzędzi połowowych, które zapewniają długoterminową ochronę cennych zasobów ryb oraz innych elementów bałtyckiego ekosystemu.

What threatens the balance of the marine environment?

Overfishing. It occurs when more fish are taken from a stock in a given period of time than will be able to reproduce. This disrupts the natural population balance of the stock and its ability to replenish itself. The phenomenon of overfishing is a global problem. According to the United Nations, nearly 30 percent of the world's fish stocks are overfished, and about 60 percent   are fished at the highest possible level. In the Baltic Sea, both cod stocks (eastern and western) are overfished, whereas herring stocks of the central Baltic and sprat stocks of the whole Baltic are fished sustainably.

One of the causes of overfishing is too high fishing limits set by the European Union every year. Another reason is the overcapacity of the fishing fleet - the fleet is so numerous and well-equipped that it has enormous capacity to catch fish. Another cause is IUU fishing, i.e. illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.

Destruction of the seabed. DThis occurs with the use of bottom trawls, among other things. This is a fishing practice that involves dragging a huge weighted net along the bottom and scooping up all the organisms living near the seabed (whether they were targeted or not) inside the net. This method causes great damage to the marine environment and leads to the destruction of valuable marine habitats.

Dangerous bycatch. Anything that falls into a fisherman's net that was not the target of his catch is called bycatch. This includes fish of other species, but also porpoises.

Sustainable fishing is the use of selective fishing gear to keep bycatches to a minimum.

Fish with a certificate of quality

Fish and seafood are the basis of the diet for more than a billion people around the world. The well-being of 1 in 10 people in the world depends on responsible fisheries management, says Anna Debicka, the Manager of MSC Poland. She mentions that the decisions we make in stores every day have an impact on what fish producers and fishermen do. If we choose products with the MSC label, more and more companies will meet the standards of sustainable fishing

The blue MSC (Marine Stewardship Council) label is on wild fish and seafood. Farmed fish are marked with the green ASC (Aquaculture Stewardship Council) label.

NATURALNIE BAŁTYCKIE is, in turn, a logo which informs that we are dealing with Baltic fish, caught by Polish shipowners, of the highest freshness categories ("extra" or "A"). This mark is used by Polish producers who meet the highest quality and environmental standards.

Fish Forward

Implemented in the years 2018-2020 by 17 partners in 17 countries, including WWF Poland, the project aims to change the behavior of consumers and producers in Europe by increasing knowledge about the consumption and harvesting of fish and seafood and the effects our decisions have on people and the marine environment. For more information on the ongoing activities, please visit:


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