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 dangerously depleted fish stocks and an ecosystem whose balance has been sufficiently tipped to jeopardise the existence of a number of marine species.

kilograms of seafood consumed in SA
of total is locally caught
Sardine and Hake

Eat Green

Eating seafood has always been a part of our South African heritage. In a developing country like South Africa, food security as well as the livelihoods of many local fishing communities are influenced by the seafood choices consumers make.


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 with just one SMS. Simply type the name of the seafood species 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; through using it, you can find out whether to tuck in, think twice or avoid altogether. It’s free on Android, Blackberry 10 and iOS!

Get the SASSI App


Pocket Card

SASSI has produced a pocket size booklet that consumers can carry on them to help inform themselves about the most sustainable fish species to purchase and consume. The SASSI poster is also available showing the lists with pictures of the various species.

Download Pocket Card

The Sassi List

All in one central place, find out the sustainability status of the seafood species you wish to eat. 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? Well, that is a definite no-no!


Green – Best Choice

These are the most sustainable choices from the healthiest and most well-managed populations. These species can handle current fishing pressure, or are farmed in a manner that does not harm the environment. This is the group from which people are encouraged to choose from.



Orange – Think Twice

This group includes species that have associated reasons for concern, 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.



Red – Don’t Buy

This group includes unsustainable species as well as those that are illegal to sell in South Africa. Some of these “no-sale” species are very important recreational species that cannot handle commercial fishing pressures, and may therefore only be caught for your own enjoyment and use.


Play your part, Support sustainable fishing

Have you considered that as a consumer you have a powerful influence over the products that your retailer or supermarket stocks, especially with regards to sustainable seafood? To ensure that future generations can enjoy the same benefits and pleasure from the oceans, WWF-SASSI works with major retailers and environmentally conscious top chefs in order to make it easier to ‘eat green’.

How SASSI Helps

Sustainable seafood is about more than just how, and how many, fish are caught, it is also about how seafood is traded. Have you realised that the seafood you buy has both environmental and social impacts at a global and local level? Developing a sustainable seafood industry requires more than sustainable fishing. It is also about addressing the other aspects of the supply chain – from the fisherman’s hook, via the seafood vendor, to the seafood consumer’s fork.


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 environmental NGOs in order to effect positive change on the water.



Participants we work with

You might not realise it, but large retailers and national restaurant franchises as well as smaller supermarkets and fish shops – together with their suppliers – have an important role to play in the seafood supply chain. Supported by the rapid growth in consumer awareness around the need for sustainable seafood, there are now a growing number of retailers, restaurants and suppliers who are responding to this increasing consumer demand.



Our work with consumers

Did you know that the way seafood is traded is largely driven by the demand of the seafood consumer? This means that it’s really important for us to make good choices when choosing our seafood. Our good choices will help ensure that our favourite seafood is still around for our children, as well as their children, to enjoy.

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