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2017 WWF-SASSI Trailblazers

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Seven South African chefs have been named Trailblazers in the 2017 WWF-SASSI Trailblazer Awards held at Harbour House in the V&A Waterfront on Monday 23 October 2017.

They are:

Philip Alcock (SeaBreeze Fish & Shell, Cape Town)
Robert Giljam (Societi Bistro, Cape Town)
Julie Carter (Ocean Jewels, Cape Town)
Giles Edwards (La Tete, Cape Town)
Massimo Orione (Massimo’s, Cape Town)
John McArdle (The Big Mouth, Johannesburg) 
Graham Neilson (9th Ave Bistro, Durban)
Building on the phenomenal success of SASSI’s traffic light guide amongst the South African public, the SASSI Trailblazer Awards recognise and celebrate chefs who are actively championing sustainable seafood practices in their restaurants.

SASSI Programme Manager at WWF-SA Pavitray Pillay commented: “Our partnerships with chefs are inspired by a love of seafood and a shared commitment to help restore our overexploited seafood species. The chefs we are recognising have gone the extra mile in advocating the sustainability message.”

A previously awarded Trailblazer and now mentor Chef Brad Ball saidd: “Chefs serve as the gatekeepers for the food and hospitality industry and therefore play a critical role in leading market forces and influencing popular taste. The reality is that chefs who support and promote ocean-friendly seafood can help ensure that there are fish to catch and enjoy tomorrow. My role is to do this, and to make up-and-coming chefs aware of what’s at stake.”

Awards organiser Clare Mack, of Spill Communications, said: “It’s gratifying to see, in the fifth year of these awards, that many restaurants are adopting sustainable practices in seafood, without any intervention or prompting. Sustainability is now mainstream; it has really caught on.”

The criteria for the rewards were:

·         The restaurant’s seafood sustainability policy;
·         The effectiveness of their communication of their seafood sustainability practices to their customers, employees and suppliers;
·         Their level of engagement in communicating their seafood sustainability practices to a wider audience
·         The ‘Trailblazer factor’ (those chefs and restaurants that are going the extra mile in promoting and supporting seafood sustainability).

The SASSI Media Award for 2017 went to Anna Trapido, a well-known journalist who writes extensively on food and sustainability in South Africa. She has covered sustainable seafood issues in many articles in magazines, print, TV and radio.

SASSI Educates the Educators in Cape Town and Durban

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This winter SASSI attracted a group of dedicated educators from diverse organisations to engage on the topic of sustainable seafood and its role in education. The workshop took place in Cape Town and in Durban and the groups ranged from school teachers to conservation organisations and rangers- a powerful mix of passionate educators. The quaint setting of Intaka Island set the scene for a captivating workshop in Cape Town, whilst SAAMBR (The South African Association for Marine Biological Research) based at Ushaka Sea World played host to the Durban workshop. Cape Town educators were treated to a fascinating talk on “Lost Worlds: Extinctions–Past & Present by world renowned palaeobiologist, Professor Anusuya Chinsamy-Turan. Her talk painted a clear picture of the ancient fossil records, evolution and the environment, taking the audience on a journey of the past and current status of our world which includes the (human-induced) sixth extinction. The message was that not all hope is lost because we have the power to curb the tide of our negative impacts on our planet. SASSI speakers then presented a snapshot of our oceans and without too much doom-and-gloom, we moved on to a solution for consumers and educators alike that is of course, the SASSI tools and the MSC certification. The workshops aimed to update educators on the state of our oceans as well as developments on seafood sustainability globally and nationally. The highlight of the workshop was discussion and feedback from educators on their challenges and requirements in helping to spread the sustainable seafood message. The engagements certainly enable SASSI to spring into action and work toward our new goals around sustainable seafood education.

Heads Above Water

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Gauteng has been bubbling with excitement these past few months. WWF-SASSI partnered with the Johannesburg Zoo for their Arbor Day expedition on the 15th September. SASSI engaged with over 1000 primary school students on the importance of marine plants and impacts of our seafood choices. The kids thoroughly enjoyed their time at the SASSI stand and loved learning about our oceans.  Earlier this year, SASSI was invited to speak and be part of a crucial panel discussion at the Food and Hospitality Africa Show (May 2017) and Africa’s Big 7 (June 2017). The Food and Hospitality Show 2017 is the largest Pan-African food, drink, and hospitality show where SASSI spread the message of the importance of being a sustainable seafood supplier and consumer. SASSI took centre stage at the Africa’s Big 7 show being part of a panel discussion focusing on the call for sustainable seafood practices from boat to plate. Africa’s Big 7 is the only food and beverage trade show in Africa to bring together hundreds of global farm to fork suppliers with motivated buyers from each segment of the buying community. Looking ahead, Gauteng is gearing up for Marine Week 2017 and an exciting chefs expedition we are calling from ‘’Soweto to Sodwana’’. Lookout on our website for more exciting news to follow!

 

Responsible fisheries for sustainable seas

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The Small-scale Responsible Fisheries Training project was conceptualised by WWF South Africa so people from small-scale fishing communities are trained as trainers and empowered to deliver workshops to other coastal fishing communities around South Africa. The workshops are co-ordinated nationally by the International Ocean Institute – African Region (IOI-SA), funded by the Transport Education Training Authority (TETA). By investing in community leadership development, many small-scale fishers will be up-skilled and aware of the urgent need to fish responsibly in order to contribute to healthy oceans. The importance of this training is that it aligns with the imminent roll-out of the government’s Small-scale Fisheries Policy which is very much focused on communities working together in co-operatives and ensuring sustainable management of fish stocks. The project started in March, is facilitated by the WWF SA Marine team and aims to deliver at least 36 community courses over the next two years that should reach a total of about 850 small-scale fishers across our four coastal provinces. The great thing about these workshops is that they are also delivered in the local community’s predominant language. To date 16 courses have taken place and 355 learners have been trained. Here’s to empowering coastal communities and working toward responsible fisheries!

Heritage Month Recipe

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Try out this green-listed seafood recipe, Salted yellowtail, chapped chilli & Olive bruschetta, courtesy of our Trailblazer chef Bjorn Guido, executive chef of the Millhouse Kitchen at Lourensford.

 Ingredients

250g yellowtail
1 clove garlic
Chillies and olives
1 L milk
1 sprig of thyme
Salt to taste

Preparation

Poach fish in milk, with salt, thyme and garlic clove, allow to soften and fall apart.
Remove flesh from skin and flack with two forks, allow to cool.
Once cooled add 100g mash and seasoning with a whisk.
Finely chop chillies and olives and sprinkle over with chef-like flair.
And viola! Enjoy your delicious sustainable seafood

*Can be served in salads or on bruschetta

Fish species Look out for the new updates to WWF-SASSI Lists for 2017!!

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Hey SASSI champions! WWF-SASSI assessments have been finalised for a number of priority South African and International species for inclusion onto the WWF-SASSI list and consumer tools. This was a rigorous process whereby the public was included and provided an opportunity to comment on the draft assessments per the WWF-SASSI notifications to WWF-SASSI stakeholders on 19 January 2017 for local species and on 13 February 2017 for international species. WWF-SASSI has now completed the review process, incorporating public comments and an external review process for the local species.

The public, including interested and affected parties, are hereby notified of the final assessment outcomes listed, which can be found at http://wwfsassi.co.za/public-notice-final-colours-on/ . Some of the changes in the South African fishery include Sardines, Gurnards and Carpenter shifting from the green to the orange list. Some major prawn species supplied to South Africa from International fisheries are also now red-listed. The ocean needs us to continue being champions, more than ever. The final WWF-SASSI assessment results will be included in all WWF-SASSI materials and consumer tools, which will be available to the public after 60 days from this communication (19 June 2017).

We thank you for your support and participation in the WWF-SASSI assessment process!

The Retail Revolution

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The WWF-SASSI Retailer/ Supplier Participation Scheme has made great strides in transforming the seafood sector in the past 10 years by encouraging sustainable procurement in response to consumer demand. The move towards a more sustainable seafood sector is due to a combination of increased consumer demand for more sustainable options, the foresight of WWF to work with seafood retailers and suppliers along the supply chain and the retailers and suppliers themselves who have put in the hard work.

The nine WWF-SASSI participants are I&J, John Dory’s, Pick n Pay, Food Lover’s Market, Woolworths, SPAR Group Limited, Ocean Basket, Sun International and Breco Seafoods. An example in the South African context is the action taken by the nine national retailers and suppliers who sent a joint letter to the Namibian Hake Association (NHA) to request improvements in environmental performance of their fishery.

Following this engagement, the NHA committed to have their fishery assessed against the Marine Stewardship Council standard for sustainable fisheries, with the process due to begin in early 2017.

Together, WWF-SASSI participants hold the power to transform the seafood sector by supporting fisheries under improvement, stocking sustainable seafood species that comply with traceability principles, and ensuring that seafood products are adequately labelled with enough information so that consumers can make informed purchasing decisions.

Click here to download the 2016 Retailer Report

WWF-SASSI’s Successful Skip the Kreef

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In our previous newsletter, we highlighted a growing concern about the diminishing population of the popular West Coast Red Lobster (WCRL). Being one of South Africa’s pioneer fisheries, the WCRL industry is rich in its socio-economic value through job provision, and supporting economic growth.

Due to overfishing, increased illegal harvesting and poor management of the WCRL fishery only 2% of original stock remains. These series of events has sadly shifted the WCRL to the red list, which you may have followed. WWF-SASSI released a draft red-listing for WCRL in 2016 because the resource is sitting precariously close to collapse.

Through WWF-SASSI’s 2016 campaign to ‘Skip the Kreef’. The listing was finalised by the WWF-SASSI team at the end of 2016 to be headed with a warning that kreef could disappear completely from menus within the next 5 years unless radical restoration measures are implemented to save the fishery. The launch of the #SkiptheKreef social media awareness campaign called on consumers to avoid eating this popular seafood over the festive season, as they would any other red-listed species. WWF, along with fishers, submitted an open letter to the Minister of the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF), to call for a drastic reconsideration.  Thanks to consumer power, the campaign reached over 297 000 people on Facebook, 71 000 twitter impressions, 72 print publication, 38 Broadcasts on radio & TV and 90 000 views on You Tube. More importantly major restaurants publicly announced that they will not be selling Kreef this summer. Well done ocean champions!

WWF-SASSI is continuing to call on consumers to use their buying power and voices to protect the species as well as the fishers who may depend on it for their support a WWF-SASSI green listing in years to come.

Marine Week 2016 at the Two Oceans Aquarium

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Marine WeekPrintDuring National Marine Week in October 2016, Two Oceans Aquarium teamed up with WWF-SASSI to focus on sustainable seafood. This involved everyone from staff and visitors, to social media and blog articles using WWF-SASSI as a theme. WWF-SASSI report statistics were shared to highlight the plight of overfishing and the WWF-SASSI tools were advertised as a solution and call to action. A presentation was made to aquarium staff, on WWF-SASSI as a consumer tool, which was well received by all.

An exciting pop up education station was run by the aquarium visitor services staff, near the penguin exhibit that focused on understanding what the WWF-SASSI colours meant. Seafood pictures were displayed and visitors were asked to use the pocket card to place the seafood pictures in the correct colour category. This generated a lot of discussion and was an interactive and fun way to engage people on the topic.

Marine week 2016 was an overall success and the partnership with WWF-SASSI inspired discussion and awareness on the topic of seafood sustainability.

 

“Cooked in Africa”

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The Cooked in Africa Production Company has been a supporter of WWF-SASSI for over half a decade and this year marks the fifth successive season that they haCooked in Africave invited a WWF-SASSI representative onto the set of their award winning outdoor cooking series Ultimate Braai Master.

The collaboration has seen WWF-SASSI incorporated into episodes shot in the most iconic seascapes around our coastline, from the West Coast town of Paternoster all the way round our coastline to Sodwana Bay in the iSimangaliso National Park.

Season five is currently airing on eTV every Sunday at 4pm and is watched by nearly 2 million people. Chris Kastern from WWF-SASSI joined this year’s Ultimate Braai Master contestants on the Wild Coast and got to teach them about responsible oyster and mussel foraging in the mouth of the Kobonqaba River.

After that it was off to the Wavecrest Hotel to find some hidden FiSHTORY historical fishing images and to talk about throwing some WWF-SASSI Green-list fish, wrapped in wet newspaper, over the coals. (The set then moved South to Seagulls Resort where the contestants joined Chris for a beach hike to the infamous Jacaranda shipwreck, along the way they got to wet a line and were shown how to become citizen scientists by logging their catch on the recreational fishing website, CatchReport.

Thanks to Justin Bonello and his crew for once again encouraging South Africans to choose Green-list seafood for their braai!

(c) Photo: Louis Hiemstra Photography