You wouldn't want to be seen eating or serving endangered seafood, would you? Here's how to avoid accidentally being caught red-handed.
Making the right choice is easy. Woolworths is committed to ensuring that all their fish and seafood is responsibly sourced. Their packaging has been clearly labeled so that you can trust that the fish you are buying is what they say it is.
As part of Woolworths' Fishing for the Future initiative, they have partnered with MSC (Marine Stewardship Council) and SASSI (Southern African Sustainable Seafood initiative) so you can enjoy fish today, and tomorrow.
HOW IT WORKS
SASSI’s green, orange, red system of classification works in conjunction with the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC). The MSC is currently the only credible eco-label for fisheries and provides the most rigorous standards by which sustainability is assessed.
Any fish packaging that displays the MSC logo indicates that the fish can be traced back through the supply chain to the fishery that caught it and that each of these links has been individually audited to ensure the sustainability of the product.
Due to the high standard of the MSC's assessment process, any fish that are MSC certified are automatically placed on SASSI's green list, indicating that they are the best, most sustainable choice for consumers.
The SASSI classification system focuses on locally caught seafood.
- Green indicates species that are the best choices as they can handle current fishing pressures and they are from the healthiest and most well managed populations. Any MSC approved fish will be found on this list.
Examples are hake, land-based farmed kob, Alaskan salmon, yellowtail, West Coast rock lobster, tuna (pole caught yellowfin and albacore, not bluefin), dorado and SA snoek.
- Orange means there is concern over the sustainability of a species - they are rare due to overfishing and cannot sustain current fishing pressure. Fisheries that catch them may cause severe environmental damage. The life-style (biology) of the species makes it vulnerable to high fishing pressure.
Examples are kingklip, East Coast sole, geelbek (Cape salmon), swordfish, white stumpnose, kob (farmed at sea or line caught) and red roman. We urge you to rather not buy these fish, especially not on a regular basis.
- Orange fish such as kingklip is sometimes available from Woolworths. It's important to note that although retailers may legally sell species on the orange list, Woolworth's suppliers source kingklip from only hake fisheries approved by the Marine Stewardship Council so they can be sure that the fish is a non-targeted by-catch of hake. Woolworths will not sell by-catch that is targeted, overfished or from a non-accredited fishery, or if the catch method results in environmental damage.
- Red (which will never be found at Woolworths) species are protected and/or illegal to sell.
Examples are black musselcracker (poenskop), bluefin tuna, trawl caught kob, red steenbrass and trawl caught sharks.
Fish that are illegal to sell in SA include: galjoen, king fish, Natal stumpnose, Seventy-four, white steenbras and musselcracker, blacktail (dassie) and Cape Stumpnose.
Seafood that falls outside of SASSI’s classifications – such as farmed or certain imported seafood – will carry a blue label at Woolworths.
Your choice of seafood today will affect what is available to you in the future. SASSI FishMS, a world first, enables you to make the on-the-spot choice when dining out or shopping for seafood. Save it to your cellphone now!
Send the name of the fish as a text message to the number 079 499 8796 you will get a prompt response telling you where the species is on the list, as well as some additional information such as minimum size and bag limit in the case of line-fish. The SMS is charged at standard cellular rates.
- For the complete SASSI database and other sources of info for safe seafood buying worldwide, visit The SASSI List.