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Ratings changes Winter 2020 review

Posted on: 10th February 2020

Following our winter ratings review, which we publicly consulted on and discussed with our Independent Advisory board there have been a few changes to our sustainabilty ratings. which are summarised here. More detail and references can be found on each species by visiting its page on the CGSG website (hyperlinked in the text below). We also provide a reminder of the changes that were brought in this summer following our annual summer review.

Changes following the winter review 2019/2020

Pot caught cuttlefish is no longer on the recommended list as the overall rating has been downgraded following a detailed review of the fisheries for this species. Evidence from scientific surveys show that stocks of this species are declining in the Eastern channel and landings have decreased in the Western channel. The species is targeted offshore by trawlers in winter and inshore by potters and there are very little management measures in place to prevent this stock from being over exploited, including no quota, no MLS and no seasonal restrictions or restricted areas. 
Grey mullet ratings have improved slightly from 5 to 4 due to little evidence that they are being overexploited and improved management of this species due to ban on netting in estuaries. Spotted ray rating has increasd from 5 to 4 due to the application of the  revised methodology for scoring stock.  

Other changes following summer review 2019

Bass ratings have improved  slightly as there are first signs that the emergency conservation measures brought in the EU including a ban on pair trawling for bass in area VII have helped and stocks appear to be rebuilding.  Handline bass is now on our recommended list.
Monkfish, megrim and sole ratings have improved - showing a trend for warmer water species to be fairing better in recent years. All are recommended.
Cod and whiting ratings in our area have both suffered following scientific advice from ICES that both have experienced poor recruitment (perhaps also linked to temperature as these are cold water fish) and over exploitation by the combined European fleets. Cod has not been on our recommended list for some time but whiting has also now dropped off the list.

Room for improvement 

Concern has been raised over the lack of scientific data for some key stocks including turbot, lemon sole and crawfish - all are high value species which are important to Cornwall's fishing industry but there is insufficient information to judge how sustainable these fisheries are.
 There is also concern for brown crab stocks, fishing effort is not effectively limited despite the main fishing technique used, potting, being a very selective, low impact method there has been a noticeable decline in catch per unit effort in this species in many areas of Cornwall according to CIFCA data. We are concerned - the ratings haven't changed as yet but we are watching this situation. 
Find out more info about how our ratings work.

Cornwall Good Seafood Guide is underpinned by the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) Good Fish Guide. The first UK consumer guide to sustainable seafood. For more information visit

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