Environmental group Forest & Bird says the results of its latest best fish consumer guide are based on a thorough ecological assessment and not fish numbers.
The guide, to be released this week, looks at the sustainability of 78 commercial fisheries.
It rates blue cod, rock lobster and kahawai as good meal choices while popular species such as snapper, orange roughy and hoki rate poorly.
The Seafood Industry Council has criticised the findings, saying the guide is designed to instil guilt in consumers and all fish on the guide are sustainably caught.
It says all commonly eaten species are part of the Quota Management System, which uses independent scientific data to manage fish stocks.
But Forest & Bird's conservation advocate Katrina Subedar says the guide is about looking at the bigger picture.
She says, while the level of fish stocks is important, the assessment for the guide also looks at wider ecological impacts, including the levels and species of bycatch (fish caught unintentionally during commercial fishing), and the management of the fishery.