The Guide for Sustainable Seafood Consumption in Greece
Through making responsible decisions on what seafood you consume, you can help to protect the life in our seas.
Fish4Life is a guide for sustainable fish consumption in Greece and other parts of the Mediterranean. It aims to provide the public with easily accessible information about what seafood is sustainable to consume and when. It provides information on the status of each species (e.g. whether it is illegal, or sustainable to consume) and their breeding season when consumption should be avoided (shown in red months on calendar). Moreover, it provides information about the minimum legal size within Greece, (the size below which it is illegal to catch or consume each species), as well as the minimum sustainable size (the recommended minimum size for consumption due to reproductive age thus allowing regeneration of species. In many cases this is different from the legal size!). The main commercial fishery practices in Greece are listed below (shown using symbols for each species).
Fish4Life was initially created by researchers of Archipelagos Institute of Marine Conservation and developed as an app, by TEDx Thessaloniki in May 2012, currently under redesign.
Everyone can help in combating overfishing, by making responsible, health conscious seafood choices. It is important for future fish stocks to avoid eating rapidly declining species from fisheries contributing to overfishing through spear fishing, drift nets, dynamite fishing and other illegal fisheries and choose more sustainable methods e.g. traps or pole fishing. Sadly, several species of seafood which are deemed illegal, can still easily be found in the Greek market. Fish4life can help you to choose against consuming these species and to report them when discovered!
It’s OK to Consume
The consumption of seafood belonging to the green category is currently considered sustainable and responsible for consumers. The stocks are not considered overfished or declining. Nevertheless, we must always choose sustainable sizes and avoid consuming during breeding seasons to keep fish populations healthy, as well as protecting fishery livelihoods.
If a species belongs to the yellow category, there is evidence that its consumption may not be sustainable. Populations may show signs of decline or be in recovery from a previous decline. Regular consumption is not advisable. However, if you wish to consume, always choose sustainable sizes and avoid breeding seasons.
The consumption of species belonging to the red category is considered unsustainable and should be avoided at all times! The species may be: (1) Protected meaning it is illegal to catch, sell and consume (2) Overfished to a point where population is in decline (3) Potentially harmful to health as it can bioaccumulate dangerous levels of heavy metals or toxic chemicals
Net or scallop dredges dragged along bottom seafloor or in deep midwaters. Nets with larger holes may allow juveniles to escape. However, this method is non-selective and thus also catches non-targeted species. Bottom trawling is considered the most destructive method as it destroys seafloor habitats, therefore unsustainable.
Gill/ Trammel netting
Wall of netting hangs in the water column, (trammel nets are multi layered) mesh sizes entangles fish heads and gills. While the mesh size can be regulated to avoid catching smaller or non-targeted fish species, bigger marine animals (e.g. dolphins, sea turtles, seabirds) still get entangled in the nets and drown, making this an unsustainable method. If nets snag on seabed they can get lost, becoming ‘ghost nets’.
Either placed on surface or along seafloor setting out horizontal line of possibly 50-100km with short lengths of 'snoods' carrying baited hooks at each snood interval. This is an unsustainable method as threatens seabirds and high catches of immature non-usable individuals including sea turtles and sharks.
A large wall of ‘draw netting’ is deployed circling a school of fish near the water surface. After the fish are encircled within the net, the lead line is pulled, “pursing” the net closed and trapping the fish. Method is unsustainable as this also traps marine mammals, sharks, sea turtles and other non-targeted species.