Eat jellyfish instead of fish and chips to save endangered sea animals, scientists have said, as a study found that nearly a hundred threatened species have ended up on diner's plates.
Conservationists have revealed that 92 endangered species, including 11 that are classed as critically endangered, were caught in oceans around the world and ended up in meals.
Thirteen of these species are being consumed in Europe with Germany, UK, and Spain along with the USA comprising most of the top importers of threatened species by volume and value.
The list of critically endangered species which, may have ended up on unsuspecting diner's plates, included varieties of bluefin tuna, sturgeon and angelshark.
According to last year's report by the Commission for the Conversation of Southern Bluefin Tuna, population levels were down to 17 per cent of original pre-fishing levels.
Many species of sturgeon are also critically endangered as their eggs are used in caviar, while the angelshark, most often a bycatch in fishing, has been declared extinct in the North Sea and is believed to have been eradicated from large areas of the northern Mediterranean.
UK regulations only need fresh, chilled, and live fish to be labelled with its scientific and commercial name, but cooked fish - like a battered fillet - can slip through the net.
This means menu items like 'fish' or 'flake' could actually be endangered species.
Researchers, from the University of Queensland (UQ), said that in order to protect them, popular chip shop favourites could be swapped with other more environmentally friendly species like jellyfish - which previous research have shown are multiplying.
They said: "Jellyfish could replace fish and chips on a new sustainable takeaway menu to help keep threatened species off the plate."
Scientists have found jellyfish to be rich in vitamin B12, magnesium, iron, and low in calories. In Asia its consumption is associated with easing bone and muscle pain.
It is known for a delicate, slightly salty, flavour and its slimy chewy consistency means that Chinese and Japanese gourmands often eat it raw or sliced up as a salad ingredient.
The jellyfish are also seen as a potential menace.
In 2014 they invaded a Scottish salmon farm, killing 300,000 fish overnight and have also been responsible for shutting down power stations and sabotaging a US nuclear warship.
Eating them could lessen their threat to other species, Australian scientists believe.
Doctoral student Leslie Roberson, from the UQ in Australia, was one of the researchers behind a study of global fishing records which made the startling discovery that endangered species were ending up battered and fried.
She said: "The seafood industry is difficult to manage from a conservation perspective because it has supply chains that span multiple international waters, without a governing body.
"A typical situation might look something like - a fishing boat operating in Australian waters, owned by a Chinese company, with a crew of fishermen from the Philippines.
Then one part of the fish might get processed in China, and the other can go to Europe.
She added: "We don't know what we're eating, it's really hard to trace seafood back to its origin and species because the industry is such a mess."
Researchers found that three of the species, haddock, Atlantic horse mackerel and bigeye tuna, accounted for 76 per cent of catch volume.
The study authors also recommend people avoid Albocore tuna, farmed Atlantic salmon and ocean perch.
They have now created a 'sustainable seafood guide' designed to offer alternative edible options to endangered fish.
UQ senior research fellow Dr Carissa Klein, said: "We would never consider eating mountain gorillas or elephants, both of which are endangered.
"It should be illegal to eat something that is threatened by extinction, especially species that are critically endangered - if we can better coordinate fisheries and conservation policies, we can prevent it from happening."
"When importing seafood from other places, we are displacing any social or environmental problems associated with fishing to that place, which is likely to have less capacity to sustainably manage its ocean."