I was confused in Waitrose earlier. As we’re rushing out to a comedy show I wanted something fast to cook and decided that, as it’s Friday evening, something fish based sounded good. So I headed to the fish fridge, and got confused between items marked as “Sustainably sourced” and those marked as “Responsibly sourced”. Which should I be buying? Unlike the pork (which now has QR codes) there was nothing to help me make my choice.

Sustainble or Responsible?

Having got home and looked on the waitrose website, I’m none the wiser. They have a pdf about fish available which has the following under the heading of “What does sustainable mean?” >For Waitrose to consider a fish to be sustainable it must be a species that isn’t threatened in the area in which it is caught. It must be from a well-managed fishery and caught using the most responsible methods. Plus, it must be traceable from catch to consumer to ensure that no illegally caught fish are sold.

which contains both the word responsible and the word sustainable.

It also says: >However, there are sustainable sources of fish that can be enjoyed with a clear conscience. All our fish comes from such sources

but if that is the case, why are some marked sustainably sourced, and others marked responsibly sourced?

In addition their website has a section called Sustainable Fishing which has a page beneath it called Responsible fishing suggesting that the two are linked together.

I consider myself to be reasonably intelligent, and I’m not finding this in the slightest bit clear. To make good, ethical, sustainable choices it has to be clear what option is the “right” one (admittedly in this case, the “right” option is probably not to buy fish at all but…). I assume that “sustainably sourced” is better than “responsibly sourced” but I’d like a way to know that for sure.