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Second choice
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Coral fish

Coral fish is a collective name for the brightly coloured fish living in tropical and subtropical waters. Demand for this type of fish is not significant in the Netherlands. Species that can be found at the Dutch market are parrotfish, snappers, lionfish and doctorfish.

Often, it is very difficult to trace back the origin and fishing methods of these fish. Additionally, regulation and management of the fisheries can be very poor in countries of origin. Catches are not registered and there is little control on fishing methods. The use of cyanide and dynamite to fish on the reefs are common methods. This is extremely detrimental to the ecological status of the reefs and the entire ocean.


The term grouper is a collective name for different species of grouper, such as the red grouper, the Nassau grouper and the black grouper. These species have a stout body and a large mouth. Groupers can reach lengths of up to more than 1 m and weigh up to 100 kilograms. Most species live in shallow sub-tropical and tropical coastal waters on rocky substrates and coral reefs in the western Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea.



Epinephelus spp., Mycteroptera spp.


Farming- / Catch method

Bottom trawls, Dynamite and cyanide

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Fish stocks and fishing pressure
Ecosystem effects
Fishery management
Final assessment
Explanation assessment

The vulnerability to [fishing pressure] of groupers varies enormously with the species. One of the factors that makes groupers vulnerable to fishing pressure is the spawning in schools. This makes them an easy target for fishermen. Groupers have a high market value and are mainly caught in development countries by small-scale fishermen.

Two of the used catching methods are disastrous for the ecosystem: fishing with dynamite and cyanideCyanide:
Cyanide fishing is a technique where dynamite or cyanide is used to seduce or kill fish so that they float above  the seabed. This technique is widely used in coral reefs and is very harmful to the environment.
. Coral reefs are left as lifeless areas by those methods. Besides those, groupers are also occasionally caught with trawl nets. This also damages the corals and has a large amount of bycatch of e.g. sea turtles.

The fishery management for groupers is done on national level. In most countries there are, whether or not season-bound, [closed areas] and regulations for mesh size. Individual management per fishery often lacks. In the majority of South-east Asia, the fishing with dynamite and cyanide is forbidden, but supervision and enforcement shows to be difficult in practice.

ASC label

Fish with the ASC label is farmed in a sustainable manner.

MSC label

Fish with the MSC label is caught sustainably.

Good fish

This fish is not being overfished or is being responsibly farmed, with minimal impact on the environment.

Second choice

This fish is a second choice. There are still some improvements to be made in this fishery or fish farm.


Do not buy this fish. It's being overfished or the way it's farmed or caught has a negative impact on the environment.


There is fish available of this species that is farmed or caught using high welfare standards.


GlobalG.A.P. certified farms are doing a step in the right direction in terms of sustainability. A few species with this label are getting a better score on the VISwijzer.


Organic standards are the strictest when it comes to fish feed. They also require certain measures for animal well-being.