Sea bass is an important species that can be found on many Dutch menus. In most cases, this is farmed seabass but . wild sea bass is also sold. Unfortunately, there are some problems with both wild and farmed sea bass.
The sea bass stock is moving further north due to the warming of the ocean. For years, the stock of this species has been declining but has now become more stable since 2013. .
Nevertheless, the stock is not at all healthy. It takes a very long time for a species to return to safe biological limits. Sea bass is covered by the common fisheries policy but is not managed with a catch quota (indicating which amount of sea bass is allowed to be caught).
Sea bass is also farmed in open cages in the Mediterranean Sea. Unfortunately, there are problems with this form of aquaculture as well, as the used fish feed is unsustainable and the seawater is polluted by chemicals and faeces. There are also risks of escapement which brings farmed sea bass into contact with wild sea bass which may result in physical abnormalities in the wild sea bass population due to genetic differences in the farmed population.
Because of the problems associated with both wild caught and farmed sea bass, it is best to avoid this species. An exception is the sea bass with an ASC ecolabel, which has to comply with many rules. See the extensive VISwijzer for more details.