The WWF sponsored SASSI, or Southern African Sustainable Seafood Initiative, have published a guide to enable consumers to play an active role in protecting our heritage, the oceans.
Always seen as a bottomless resource, the reality is far from this as we continue to exploit our oceans, depleting stocks in an unsustainable manner. We can play a role, as the consumer we can dictate what our retailers and wholesalers stock.
The Green List comprises species from well-managed populations that can sustain current fishing pressures exerted on them, and some of these fish are not target by specific fishery, and are managed as a sustainable bycatch.
The Orange List deals with fish that are showing trends of population decline, or other environmental issues associated with the fishery the species is caught in, and consequently are cause for concern. These need to be monitored more closely to prevent further decline.
Lastly, the Red List deals with a group of unsustainable fish species that are also illegal to sell in South Africa. While some of them are allowed for recreational fishing, they cannot handle the commercial pressures. These are usually also restricted to bag limits and seasonal restrictions on recreational fishermen.
By each of us taking some responsibility we can make a difference. We can pressure our restaurants to buy from legitimate sources who show a respect for sustainable fisheries. Since it is widely known that 80% of world fish stocks are over exploited or exploited to their limits, it is beyond time to start taking action. We need to stop relying on governments to think for us, and realise we have the collective power to make a difference through our own positive action and choices.
It is time for action now, we are seeing ever frightening weather patterns globally, food prices rising across the world that are leading to riots and even the overthrow of regimes. This is a scary reality, and current trends indicate this will only get worse in the coming years.
What is your view on this, do you have any ideas of how we as South Africans can make a difference?