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Whether we will be able to enjoy the simple pleasure of tucking into a meal of fish and chips in the future will depend largely on the choices we make as consumers today.
This is a message from the Two Oceans Aquarium and WWF-SA’s Southern African Sustainable Seafood Initiative (Sassi) this month, which is dedicated to marine awareness. This week is National Marine Week.
Two Oceans Aquarium communications and sustainability manager Helen Lockhart said: “At the Aquarium we recently reviewed our sustainability strategy and overfishing is one of the key threats to the ocean which we have chosen to focus on. This is in line with our vision of abundant and healthy oceans for life.
“Teaming up with Sassi this Marine Month provides a great opportunity to take the sustainable seafood message beyond the Aquarium and to focus on informing and empowering consumers during this month.
“The more we are able to talk about these issues, the better. The more people know, the better informed choices they can make.”
Sassi has aimed to make the right choices around sustainable seafood easier, with a colour-coded seafood guide. This traffic light system tells you whether you can eat something with a clear conscience (green), should think twice (orange) or avoid altogether (red).
Sassi has compiled a list of the status of various fish. Each year this is reviewed and species are added, removed or have their status changed, according to various species assessments.
This year, one of the species that has changed from the green list to orange is the humble sardine. Once thought to be abundant, it has become clear that fishing pressures on this species is far greater than realised.
Other species that have changed on the list are prawns, which are now listed as either orange or red, depending on the fishing methods used; squid is now on the green and orange lists; red-eye round herring is on the green list and panga has moved from red to orange.
Sassi manager Pavitray Pillay said: “Consumers have the power to make a real difference by consciously making greener choices when it comes to the fish they eat.
“These decisions may seem small in isolation, but, collectively, they will make the difference as to whether we will be able to continue to enjoy seafood into the future.”
The guide is accessible through the Sassi app (http://wwfsassi.co.za/sassi-app/) or type in the name of the seafood and send a message to FISHMS (079 499 8795) to help you make your informed choice.