By Ryan Morrison For Mailonline
Published: 09:24 BST, 7 October 2020 | Updated: 09:45 BST, 7 October 2020
Seabass from French and Spanish waters should be 'off the menu' for fish loving foodies over concerns about the impact fishing methods have on population sizes.
The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) has added these species to its 'red category' of fishes to avoid buying and eating in its Good Fish Guide.
They recommend opting for farmed or line-caught seabass, king and queen scallops farmed in Scotland, European hake and haddock as 'safer alternatives'.
Seabass from the southern Bay of Biscay and Atlantic Iberian waters are of particular concern due to falling population sizes and harmful fishing methods.
MCS says industrial fishing methods for seabass - including static nets and pair trawling can lead to dolphins and porpoises being accidentally caught or harmed.
Seabass from the southern Bay of Biscay and Atlantic Iberian waters are of particular concern due to falling population sizes and harmful fishing methods. Stock image
Populations of aquatic mammals in French and Spanish waters are 'rapidly declining' due to these methods and avoiding wild-caught seabass can reduce the risk.
Dolphins and porpoises are natural predators of seabass, and the Bay of Biscay makes for an excellent hunting ground, MCS said.
Unfortunately, this means that the cetaceans are vulnerable to being accidentally caught in fishing nets and often don’t survive the experience.
MCS produces the 'Good Fish Guide' which rates fish stocks from green, are the most sustainable species, through to amber and red, fish to avoid buying.
The list regularly changes, with fish moving up or down in sustainability levels depending on the estimated size of population in any given area.
The latest changes have seen North Sea herring move from green to amber due to stock sizes falling sharply since 2016 as the fish grew in popularity with chefs.
Dover sole has a mixed picture - in the North Sea it has moved up to a higher level of amber due to stocks being much smaller than previously thought.
In recent years there has been a spike in the number of dolphins found dead on French beaches - with more than 1,100 found between January and Marc h last year
However, Dover sole from the Eastern English Channel and the Irish sea has moved from amber to green