We're fishing responsibly

We only stock responsibly caught or farmed fish

Waitrose awarded UK Fish counter of the year 2015

Waitrose was named as having the best MSC-certified fish counter for the second year running at the Marine Stewardship Council’s Seafood Sustainability Awards. The Marine Stewardship Council works to safeguard the world’s oceans and seafood supplies for future generations. Look out for its logo – a blue tick – on seafood products.


We only stock responsibily caught or farmed fish that pass our own rigorous checklist



By 2017, all our fish will be independently certified as responsibily sourced, so you can be confident the fish you're eating is not from a species at risk 


Waitrose responsible fish sourcing policy

At Waitrose, we have been working to a responsible seafood sourcing strategy for well over 15 years and Waitrose suppliers must only source fish from fisheries or farmed aquaculture operations that are responsibly managed.  We have made a commitment that by 2017 all our own label branded seafood will be independently certified to a recognised third party standard. 

Waitrose recognises a number of independent third party standards for wild caught fish including the Marine Stewardship Council and the Food and Agriculture Organisation based Responsible Fisheries Management.

For a fish to be termed 'responsible' at Waitrose it must meet the following criteria:


• Be a species that is not regarded as threatened or endangered

• Be caught from a well-managed fishery or responsible farmed aquaculture operation

• Be caught using responsible fishing methods

• Be fully traceable from catch to consumer

• Be farmed under well managed conditions that ensure the long term
sustainable future of the environment and community

• Be farmed under conditions that maximise the health and well being of the fish

• Be farmed using responsible considerations for the feed source

Fishing methods

Waitrose suppliers must ensure that fish are caught using fishing methods that minimise by-catch of vulnerable fish and non targeted fish species, causing minimal impact on habitats and non-targeted species such as coral, sea birds and marine mammals. We support fishing practices that minimise discards and avoid the capture of immature and undersize fish.

Traceability and illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing

We only sell fish that is responsibily caught, meaning not only better quality fish but also secure fish stocks for generations to come. 

Suppliers of Waitrose fish must demonstrate a high level of traceability for all its fish and seafood.
Traceability, as well as providing food safety, helps to minimise the risk of illegally caught fish entering the Waitrose supply chain. 

This as an essential step in preventing this criminal activity that causes serious economic losses, undermines conservation efforts in fisheries and damages the food security of nations and individuals.

"The supply of fully traceable, responsible seafood is critical to the Waitrose business. In today's climate of rising consumer demand, diminishing wild fish stocks and with issues of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, full traceability from catch to our customers is of vital importance," says Jeremy Ryland-Langley, Waitrose Fish Buyer.

Marine Reserves

Waitrose supports the introduction of marine reserves as a key tool in restoring the ecological health of the oceans. 

Aquaculture policies

We strongly believe that taking care of the welfare of our farmed fish is what ensures our quality of the fish we sell.
Sustainability and due protection of the environment are paramount. Our farmed fish buying policy supports the development of sustainable aquaculture, focusing on high standards of animal welfare and minimising the impact on the environment and delicate marine ecosystems.

Our sourcing policy covers 4 key areas, including only sourcing fish from known and approved farms, rearing fish to the highest animal welfare using responsible feeds and feeding regimes, and respecting the environment. 

We sell a wide range of farmed fish from responsible farming systems including Atlantic Salmon, brown trout, rainbow trout, King prawns, Tiger prawns, carp, mussels, oysters, halibut, sea bass and sea bream.

Waitrose recognises a number of independent third party standards for farmed fish including Global Gap certification, Global Aquaculture Alliance Best Aquaculture practice for farmed fish, Aquaculture Stewardship Council and Organic standards.


Fish Feed and Feed development

Marine raw materials used for the production of Waitrose fish feeds must come from managed fisheries, or produced from trimmings from fish caught for human consumption.

We expect all wild caught species used for the production of fish meal and oil would meet the objectives of the Waitrose Responsible Seafood (Fisheries) Sourcing Programme to ensure that Waitrose does not source fish feed ingredients from unsustainable sources, and that they are consistent with Waitrose Responsible fish and Shellfish Sourcing policy.

Waitrose are supporters of the International Fishmeal and Fish oil Associations Global Standard and Certification Programme for the Responsible Supply of Fishmeal and Fish Oil (IFFO RS). Currently all the marine ingredients used in the production of Waitrose salmon, trout and halibut are from IFFO RS certified stocks and it is our intention that by the end of 2017 all farmed fish diets* will be produced using IFFO RS certified marine ingredients.

*The marine feed ingredients used in the fish feed for Waitrose Organic salmon, Rainbow trout, Brown and Halibut are produced from trimmings from fish caught for human consumption. All diets are certified as organic and all ingredients are fully traceable.


The use of non marine ingredients in feed diets is permitted under the Waitrose Fish Feed policies. However the inclusion of vegetable protein ingredients must be of a non GMO origin and inclusion rates must not compromise animal welfare or the eating quality and nutritional value of the final raw product. (For example it is our policy to ensure that our salmon and trout are fed on a diet that ensures 1.75g/100g of EPA/DHA is in the finished product to deliver the health and nutritional benefits that our customers expect).