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Are sardines sustainable?

At the MSC, we believe that there is no such thing as a sustainable species, only sustainable stocks (‘stock’ is another word for group or population of fish). There are many stocks of sardines around the world, several of which are MSC certified, meaning you can find certified sustainable sardines with the blue fish label throughout North America.

Long story short: if your sardines have the MSC blue fish label on them, they're sustainable!

That means enough sardines are being left to continue reproducing, they were caught in a way that minimizes environmental impact, and there is responsible management in place so any changes to the population or the environment are monitored and can be responded to as needed. Sardines with the MSC blue fish label are certified sustainable and can be traced back to a well-managed fishery.

Blue fish illustration

Did you know? While the main use of sardines is for human consumption, they have many other uses. Sardines are used as fishing bait as well as for fish meal that is used in animal feed. Sardine oil is used in margarine in Europe, and it can also be used to manufacture paint, varnish, and linoleum worldwide!

Are sardines healthy?

What are sardines?

Sardines are small fish that grow up to a maximum of 10 inches (25cm). Sardines have a strong flavor and are oily and soft in texture. They can be bought and prepared in various forms, altering the taste and texture greatly. They are a popular seafood choice around the world. In India, they are typically eaten fresh and fried or made into curries, while in the Philippines they are often eaten dried and dipped in vinegar or fresh and simmered in a spicy tomato sauce for breakfast. In North America, they're most often found in tins and can be used to elevate your charcuterie board.

Sardines are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B-12, calcium, and other important minerals.

Where to find sustainable sardines

MSC certified sardines can be found in most grocery stores or online retailers. Check the don’t forget to check the canned foods aisle! And learn how to become an expert on finding sustainable seafood with our Where to Buy page.


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