Fishing for the future

The state of the ocean’s fish stocks is a worldwide concern, but by purchasing responsibly sourced fish, you can make a difference!

We, like you, care about the state of the ocean’s fish stocks. And by sourcing and buying responsibly sourced fish, we can make a difference together.


We remain deeply committed to procuring all our seafood from sustainable fisheries and responsible farming operations and are working with local and international seafood sustainability awareness and certification programmes, including the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), the WWF-SA’s Southern African Sustainable Seafood Initiative (WWF-SASSI) and the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) to ensure that all our seafood is responsibly sourced.


You can start by checking packaging information for credible eco-labels and ensure you are choosing from SASSI’s Green list.


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

    msc logo

    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:

    Green List

    Orange List

    Red List

    Alaskan Salmon msc logo

    Abalone (farmed)

    Black Musselcracker/ Poenskop

    Albacore Tuna (pole caught) msc logo

    Atlantic Bigeye Tuna

    Bluefin Tuna

    Albacore Tuna

    Atlantic Bigeye Tuna

    Bluefin Tuna

    Anchovy ♦

    Atlantic Yellowfin Tuna



    Atlantic/Norwegian Salmon (farmed)

    Indian Ocean Bigeye Tuna

    Atlantic Mackerel msc logo

    Cape Dory

    Indian Ocean Yellowfin Tuna

    Calamari (Squid)

    Carpenter (line caught)

    Kob (trawl caught) ♦

    Canned Tuna (selected sources)

    Catface Rockcod

    Red Steenbras


    African Sharptooth Catfish (farmed)

    Red Stumpnose/Miss Lucy

    Gurnard (offshore trawl)



    Hake msc logo

    Geelbeck/Cape Salmon (line caught)

    Sharks (trawl caught)

    Herring msc logo

    Hake (longline)

    White-edge Rockcod

    Horse Mackerel/Maasbanker


    Yellowbelly Rockcod

    Kob (land-based farms)

    Jacopever (offshore trawl)


    Mussels (farmed and wild)

    King Mackerel


    Oysters (farmed and wild)

    Kingklip ♦

    Brindle Bass *

    Panga (line caught)

    Kob (farmed at sea or line caught)

    Bronze Bream

    Portuguese Sardines msc logo

    Monk ♦

    Cape Stumpnose

    Queen Mackerel

    New Zealand Kingklip/ Ling



    Pangasius/Basa (farmed)


    South African Sardines ♦


    King Fish


    Red Roman

    Knife Jaw

    West Coast Rock Lobster

    Sharks (line caught)

    Natal Stumpnose

    Yellowfin Tuna (pole caught)

    Skates and Rays

    Natal Wrasse *



    Potato Bass *

    Sole (East Coast) ♦

    River Snapper


    Seventy-four *

    White Stumpnose (line caught)

    Spotted Grunter

    Yellowtail (locally farmed)

    West Coast Steenbras

    White Musselcracker

    White Steenbras

    Download a printable pocket-size SASSI card here.

    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.

    For more information, visit the SASSI website at Or, if you have specific questions, e-mail SASSI at

    Source: South African Sustainable Seafood Initiative (SASSI)

    To find out more…ate/corporate-index.jsp


  • 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.


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