YOUR CHOICE OF SEAFOOD CAN IMPACT OUR OCEANS
South Africa’s coastline spans two oceans, housing an extraordinary undersea diversity. It is no wonder that South Africans enjoy their seafood, not forgetting the influx of tourists who look forward to our seafood spread. Seafood is the most traded primary commodity in the world, yet how often do we acknowledge that the kind of seafood we buy or sell can have environmental impacts at both a global and a local level? Over the last few decades, there has been a dramatic increase in the amount of fish being taken out of the oceans. Latest studies estimate that 89% of all fisheries are overexploited. The way seafood is traded is primarily driven by the demand of the seafood lover. That means that it is important for us to make good choices when choosing our seafood so that we can make sure we conserve our shared oceans and ensure our favourite seafood is still around for our children, as well as their children, to enjoy.
So what can you do about it? Well, quite a lot actually.
Luckily, choosing sustainably is so much easier with WWF-SASSI. The South African Sustainable Seafood Initiative (SASSI) offers a number of tools to empower consumers to make responsible seafood choices. The SASSI listcategorises popular seafood species according to their conservation status: seafood on the Red list should never be bought (These are either illegal to buy or sell or considered unsustainable), Orange-listed species have associated environmental reasons for concern, and Green-listed species are the most sustainable choices available, coming from the best managed populations. The SASSI list is derived from the following information about a species: What is it? Where is it from? How is it caught? These questions unpack the current status of stocks, management in each region and the environmental impacts of a fishery. All this information has been condensed and packaged into a handy SASSI app, a pocket card you can slot into your wallet, and a nifty FishMSservice; text the name of the fish to the number 079-499-8795 and you will soon get a response telling you to tuck in, think twice or avoid completely!
WWF-SASSI also works with a number of retail and restaurant partners to promote sustainably and responsibly harvested seafood products, thus contributing towards the maintenance of healthy and productive marine ecosystems, as well as economic and livelihood security in South Africa.
Ultimately, your choice of one type of seafood over another really does matter to the health of our marine environment here in South Africa, and even globally. As a consumer, you have the power to ask the ‘What, Where and How’ of your seafood, wherever you go, and consult with the SASSI App to make a sustainable seafood choice. Remember, not all seafood is equal. YOU HAVE A CHOICE, SO MAKE IT GREEN!
FOR MORE INFORMATION: see WWF-SASSI’s website at www.wwf.org.za/sassi