Unsustainable harvesting of the world’s oceans has led to the depletion and, in some cases, collapse of many of the world’s major fish stocks. While the outlook for many threatened marine ecosystems remains bleak in the face of unsustainable fishing practices, those involved in the seafood industry are realising that by changing the way they conduct business now, the long-term viability of their industry can be ensured.
While it may be the responsibility of the government to regulate and monitor fishing activities, it is also the duty of every seafood restaurant, retailer and consumer to support sustainable and responsible fishing practices.
In 2004, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) established the South African Sustainable Seafood Initiative (SASSI) to inform and educate all participants in the seafood trade – from wholesalers to restaurateurs, through to consumers – about sustainable seafood.
By using a ’traffic light’ system (red, orange and green), the colour-coded SASSI list categorises selected South African and imported seafood species according to their conservation status.