The fishing boats coming into Kalk Bay harbour look like they are full of fish, but for how long? It might seem like too much trouble to find out which fish are sustainable to eat or not, but actually it’s as easy as sending an SMS. The SASSI SMS line (079 499 8795) responds saying whether the name of the fish you sent them is:
Green – Best Choice
Orange – Think Twice
Red – Don’t Buy
Research has shown that consumers who asks questions actually drive positive change, so go ahead and ask where the fish you are about to eat comes from. Some answers might really confuse you because certain species like kob, tuna and prawns, span all three colour categories. This is because they are assessed according to fishing method, origin and stock levels. For example, Bigeye and Indian Yellowfin tuna are overexploited in all oceans and Bluefin tuna – slow growing, late to mature and highly sought after for sashimi – are on the brink of collapse. However, Yellowfin tuna from SA waters caught in the pole fishery method, which incurs little bycatch like turtles, seabirds and sharks, is on the green list. Inform yourself by visiting this website.
General Rules of Thumb
- Local is lekka! Buy locally from the green list, rather than imported species – especially if from neighbouring Mozambique, Tanzania or Seychelles, whose fishing industries are poorly regulated.
- If you really can’t go without your favourite seafood on the orange list, like Kingklip, Kob and East Coast Sole, then make it a special occasion.
- The only accredited seafood certification label for wild stocks is the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC); SA Hake has MSC certification. Look out for this label in supermarkets.
- Vote with your wallet and choose from the green list.