The Southern African Sustainable Seafood Initiative

South Africa’s Oceans Are Under Threat

Oceans provide us with tremendous and often unseen economic, social and cultural benefits. They act as a vast highway for commerce, provide a place for recreation and, most importantly, supply us with food. Unfortunately, unsustainable fishing practices have left fish stocks dangerously depleted and ecosystems sufficiently altered to jeopardise a number of marine species.

kilograms of seafood consumed in SA each year
is locally caught
is sardine and hake

Eat Green

Eating seafood is a part of South Africa's heritage. Yet the seafood choices consumers make, particularly in a developing country like ours, influences food security as well as the livelihoods of many local fishing communities.


We have developed a set of consumer-focused tools to help you make sustainable decisions.



The FishMS service allows consumers to make on-the-spot choices about the seafood they eat with just one SMS. Simply type the name of the fish or other seafood into a text message and send it to 079-499-8795 to receive information on the status of that species.



The easy-to-use app allows you to check the sustainability of your seafood choice in real time. You can find out whether to tuck in, think twice or avoid altogether. It’s free on Android and iOS!

Get the SASSI App


Pocket Guide

SASSI has made a pocket-sized booklet for consumers to carry around that can help inform them about the most sustainable fish species to purchase and eat. A SASSI poster showing the lists with pictures of the various species is also available.

SASSI Pocket Guide


SASSI Card Game & Presentation

Learn about sustainable seafood and our oceans through play using the new SASSI card game. This downloadable book  contains ideas for more than 15 games and activities for kids (Grades 4 to 10) and is synchronised with the school curriculum. Teachers, educators and parents are encouraged to download the book, cut out and laminate the brightly coloured fish cards for use in the classroom or at home. Let’s play!

SASSI Card Game

Card Game Presentation

The Sassi List

Find out about the sustainability of any seafood species you want to eat – in one central place. To make it easy for you, we have taken a simple traffic-light approach. When the species is listed as green: go for it! When it is orange: think twice. And red? We recommend you don’t buy it!


Green – Best Choice

These are the most sustainable choices from the healthiest and most well-managed fish populations. These species can handle current fishing pressure or are farmed in a manner that does not harm the environment. This is the list we encourage you to choose from.



Orange – Think Twice

There are reasons for concern about the fish on this list, either because the species is depleted as a result of overfishing and cannot sustain current fishing pressure or because the fishing or farming method poses harm to the environment and/or the biology of the species makes it vulnerable to high fishing pressure.



Red – Don’t Buy

Red list species are from unsustainable populations, have extreme environmental concerns, lack appropriate management or are illegal to buy or sell in SA. ‘No sale’ species are illegal to sell and are reserved for recreational fishers who require a valid fishing permit and must adhere to specific regulations.


Play your part, Support sustainable fishing

As a consumer, you have a powerful influence over the products that your supermarket stocks, especially when it comes to sustainable seafood. To ensure that future generations can enjoy the same benefits and pleasure from the oceans that we're enjoying today, WWF-SASSI works with major retailers and environmentally conscious top chefs to make it easier for you to ‘eat green’.

How SASSI Helps

Sustainable seafood is about more than simply how many – and how – fish are caught, it is also about how seafood is traded. Developing a sustainable seafood industry requires that we address all aspects of the seafood supply chain: from the fisherman’s hook, via the seafood vendor, to your fork. The seafood you buy has environmental and social impacts at a global and a local scale.


Our work with fisheries

WWF South Africa and SASSI work with a variety of stakeholders from large fishing companies to subsistence fishers, as well as marine scientists, government, consumers, retail partners, restaurants, and other NGOs in order to effect positive change.



Participants we work with

Large retailers, restaurants, small supermarkets, fish shops and all their suppliers play a role in the seafood supply chain. Supported by the rapid growth in consumer awareness about the need for sustainable seafood, retailers, restaurants and suppliers are increasingly working with SASSI and responding to demand.



Our work with consumers

Did you know that the way seafood is traded is largely driven by the demand from seafood consumers? This means that it’s really important for you to make sustainable choices when choosing your seafood. Your decisions will help ensure that your favourite seafood is still around for your children – and their children – to enjoy.

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