"The South African Sustainable Seafood Initiative"
As the years go by I become more and more conscious about our world and what is - and isn't - going to be available to us within a few years. How sad to think of never being able to eat another piece of perfectly-seared and cooked kingklip.
Unsustainable fishing worldwide has driven some fish populations to their lowest levels. This is no different in South Africa where many well-known line-fish species have been severely depleted. The Southern African Sustainable Seafood Initiative (Sassi) aims to inform the public so each one of us can help, and determine, the health and productivity of our oceans in the future. An understanding helps us make a conscious decision about the seafood we select. With more and more people eating fish/seafood because it is considered a healthy alternative to meat, we need to start making wise choices.
With Sassi's help we can all be 'aware' lovers of seafood. Visit www.wwfsassi.co.za for details, or text the name of the fish you're planning to eat to FishMS at 079 499 8795. You will immediately receive a message stating whether you can tuck in, think twice or avoid completely. Try it - it works and it is amazing how good the fish tastes when you know you're working toward a sustainable environment!
To explain in more detail Sassi has an easy-to-follow listing as follows:
- Green - most sustainable choice - South African sardines, calamari, dorado, mussels, oysters, West Coast rock lobster.
- Orange - reason for concern - kingklip, prawns, tuna (local long line) and yellow tail.
- Red - illegal to buy/sell - cob, tuna (imported long line) and black mussel cracker.
Always ask a supplier / restaurant where the seafood comes from, how it was caught and what species it is.
It concerns me when fisheries aren't selective and incidental mortality occurs. This happens when non-targeted species such as sharks, dolphins and seals are 'trapped' in the catch - and when albatrosses are caught on long lines.
Look out for the MSC eco-label which is on certain fish products in our grocery stores. This is a sustainable fishery operation that is completely traceable, and if eating at home I recommend only eating these items.
Read the above, try the recipes below, go onto the website, find out more and make your decisions.
We can all make a difference.
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Assisted by Elaine Boshoff for recipe development and photography.