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Our Standard and Assessments

Ocean Wise Seafood Standard - Simple but rigorous

Our system is simple. Seafood options are Ocean Wise Recommended...or they aren't.

Ocean Wise Seafood uses a simple binary system to tell consumers and seafood partners whether or not an option meets our standard. There’s a lot more detail behind these assessments, but by looking for the Ocean Wise Seafood symbol you can easily tell what is a sustainable seafood choice.

A rigorous assessment based on the best science available

Ocean Wise uses sustainability assessments from several credible sources when developing our seafood ratings.

Each rating is informed by a large quantity of data - based on our Standard which is modeled on the Standard of Monterey Bay's Seafood Watch program. This allows Ocean Wise to evaluate the impacts of a seafood’s production on aquatic organisms and ecosystems. This data feeds into our sustainability assessments, peer-reviewed publications that assess the environmental performance of a fishery or aquaculture operation against our Standard.

Assessment results in product ratings based on three key variables: targeted species>harvest method(s) used>geographic region where fishing occurs and multiple seafood products may be rated Ocean Wise Recommended from a single assessment.

A seafood product from a wild capture fishery can be considered Ocean Wise Recommended if it scores greater than 2.8 out of 5 with no critical scores.

Assessments evaluate on the following 4 criteria.

Stock Health, Bycatch and Bait, Management Effectiveness, Habitat and Ecosystem

A seafood product from an aquaculture operation can be considered Ocean Wise Recommended if it scores greater than 5.5 out of 10 with no critical scores.

Assessments evaluate the following 10 criteria.

habitat impact, feed, data availability, disease, source of stock

chemicals used, effluent, introduction of other species, escapes, wildlife impacts


Tools used to rate and recommend Ocean Wise seafood options

Ocean Wise Assessments

Our Scoring Methodology and Rating System is our guide for assessing a seafood option's ecological sustainability


Ocean Wise's Rapid Assessment Standard (RAPSTA) is a unique assessment methodology that removes barriers to entry for many small and Indigenous fisheries

Seafood Watch Assessments

Ocean Wise relies on Seafood Watch's rigorous Standard to assess fisheries and aquaculture programs


Ocean Wise uses available scientific knowledge to inform our recommendations and one resource we consider are eco-certification audits conducted by accredited third-parties

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