You can start by checking packaging information for credible eco-labels and ensure you are choosing from SASSI’s Green list.
THE SASSI GUIDE TO SUSTAINABLE SEAFOOD
WWF-SASSI compiles a colour-coded list of seafood species, indicating those that are plentiful and those that are overexploited or caught in a way that is not environmentally responsible.
By using a “traffic light” system, the colour-coded SASSI list categorises selected South African and imported seafood species according to their conservation status.
This is the group from which consumers are encouraged to choose, as it contains the most sustainable choices from the healthiest and most well-managed populations. These species can handle current fishing pressure.
This group includes species that have associated reasons for concern, either because the species is depleted as a result of overfishing and cannot sustain current fishing pressure, or the fishery that catches them may cause particularly severe environmental damage and/or has high bycatch, or the lifestyle of the species makes it vulnerable to high fishing pressure. Consumers are encouraged to think twice and consider the implications of these choices.
This group includes both unsustainable species, which are from collapsed populations or have extreme environmental concerns and/or lack appropriate management, and species that are illegal to buy or sell in South Africa (no-sale species). These species should never be bought by consumers. Fish highlighted in bold in this category are illegal to sell in South Africa.
Key to symbols used in lists:
Specially protected species
Fishery improvement projects underway
The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) eco-label indicates that a product is certified to be from a well-managed and sustainable fishery. For more information, visit: www.msc.org
If you are unsure about the status of species of fish you want to purchase, you can send an sms with just the name of the fish to the SASSI FishMs number: 079 499 8795. If the species is on one of the SASSI lists, you will receive information about that species, as well as its associated SASSI colour. Smses are charged at standard rates.
Woolworths first compiled a policy for sustainable fish and seafood in 2007 and became the first retailer in South Africa to sign the WWF-SASSI Retail Charter in 2008.
WWF-SASSI, the South African Seafood Initiative, was launched to inform the seafood industry from wholesalers and retailers to restaurateurs and seafood lovers, about the threats facing South Africa’s marine ecosystems. It aims to shift consumer demand from overexploited species to more sustainable options.
Imported fish is frozen or canned and shipped in bulk to keep the carbon footprint as low as possible.