Top to Avoid


More than 190 sharks are killed by humans every minute.

Sharks are apex predators at the top of the food chain, which typically means they are keystone species that serve as indicators of the health of the ecosystem. As shark populations decline, other species will grow unchecked, and could cause a cascade of trophic effects throughout the ecosystem, drastically changing population dynamics. A thriving shark population is a good indicator of a healthy ocean. 


Tuna, a favorite in sushi and many cuisines, is severely overfished. Most tuna stocks are fully exploited or overfished, meaning there is no room to expand the fishery.

Bluefin tuna in particular are critically endangered or endangered on the IUCN Red List, and most stocks of bluefin tuna are considered to be “depleted” and in need of recovery, which is why a single bluefin tuna could be sold for $3M


Shrimp are often caught using trawl nets, causing significant bycatch. Shrimp fisheries often account for the largest amount of bycatch in a given region.

On the other hand, farmed shrimp is not a perfect solution as most shrimp farming operations are leaching new sources of pollution from mismanaged waste and disease. 


Overfishing of cod in the North Atlantic caused a devastating fisheries collapse in the mid-20th century, which wiped out 30,000 jobs in Canada alone and financially devastated many coastal communities. 

The cod fishery collapse not only decimated their population, but also the average size of cod is much smaller, which means they produce less offspring. They are slowly coming back under careful regulation and management. 


Salmon are also a favorite for sushi, sashimi, and most everything else! Their popularity alongside upstream impacts such as logging, dams, and reduced water flows and other loss of critical habitat has led to a significant decline in fisheries. Today most salmon populations are designated as “overfished” or are likely to become overfished

As with shrimp, most salmon farming operations are the source of significant water pollution and are a breeding ground for disease requiring the use of antibiotics and other harmful chemicals. As waste and fecal matter from these farms enters the surrounding water it causes harmful algae blooms, which deplete the oxygen in the water and block sunlight, creating “dead zones” where other marine life struggle to survive.  

A recent report shows that the salmon farming industry is responsible for damages costing as much as $50bn globally between 2013-2019

*Note there are some exceptions depending on where and how the salmon is caught. For example, there are locally available sustainably managed wild caught operations in places like Alaska.


Octopuses are endangered species around the world and a keystone species, meaning that ecosystem health and balance are dependent on their survival. Octopus is not a sustainable option in most parts of the world. That said, explore if there are sustainable fisheries in your region. For example, Madagascar has a sustainable octopus fishery program (Blue Ventures, 2006).