Category Archives: News

Fishers and Scientists in the Same Boat

By | News | No Comments
Mike Markovina (Marine Conservationist), Amos Hartnick (Fisherman) and Uwe Dorle (Fishermen) working on a BRUV rig during the winter deployment in 2017.

Mike Markovina (Marine Conservationist), Amos Hartnick (Fisherman) and Uwe Dorle (Fishermen) working on a BRUV rig during the winter deployment in 2017.


Growing up in the townships of Philippi and Kraaifontien in Cape Town, as a young hyperactive child, never in my wildest dreams did I think that I would be in a boat with fishers and scientists, pulling a BRUV rig 33 metres from the sea floor.

As a young boy I always had an interest in wild animals and I knew from primary school already that I wanted to work with animals (Wild cats in particular such as Lions and Tigers). Fish however were never my favourite animals and the ocean was a no-go-area, because as a child growing up in the township only visiting the beach in December (only to run away from the water most of the time), I did not know how to swim and to me for you to get on a boat and even study fish, you had to be able to swim which was quite scary.

Many years later I have the honour of working for WWF-SA, Marine Programme as the Project Coordinator: Small Scale Fisheries. I now have the privilege of being in the same boat with fishers and scientists working on the Baited remote Underwater Video systems (BRUVs) project in the Kogelberg. The project is an innovative community-driven research partnership between marine scientists and small-scale fishers to gather scientific data about local marine resources in the Kogelberg region of the Western Cape.

The main objective of the project is to draw attention to the unique partnership between the scientists and small-scale fishers in the Kogelberg region in order to grow an appreciation for the challenges of coastal fishing communities and the innovative ways of engaging them into the monitoring and research of species. At the end of 2017, we completed year one of the project in January 2018 and presented the results to participating fishers. The project is currently in the second year of its implementation phase, which consists of bi-annual deployments carried out in summer and winter.

The summer 2018 deployment took place on the 30th of March. For the deployment we had two local vessels, each with a local skipper, one scientist from the South African Shark Conservancy (SASC) and three local small scale fishers as part of the crew. The Moving Sushi vessel also went out on the day as a back-up vessel, to ensure that the two local vessels were doing okay and also deployed a few BRUVs, which is when I again got the chance to pull up a few rigs myself.

Sindisa Sigam – Project Coordinator: Small Scale Fisheries, WWF Marine Programme

The Depths of Durban

By | News | No Comments

Newsletter DBNBy creating awareness of marine conservation issues linked to seafood, students from the prestigious, Jackie Cameron School of Food and Wine are destined to become leaders in the restaurant industry. They strive to drive positive change among their diners as well as their suppliers. uShaka Sea World welcomed these students from the second time to engage about the magic of the ocean and their role in it all.

uShaka also ran an engaging training session for John Dory’s staff from both Wilson’s Wharf and a new restaurant opening at the Cornubia Mall in Umhlanga. Training staff who are entering the restaurant industry were presented concepts that were, in all likelihood, completely new to them. This engagement has been part of shaping their thinking on seafood sustainability.

A highlight for uShaka Sea World was being part of the #Soweto2Sodwana campaign which saw two young, dynamic chefs and the SASSI team spending a fun-filled day of discovery and ocean appreciation at uShaka Sea World. The chefs spent time with ORI scientist, Gareth Jordaan, learning about monitoring shark bycatch in the pelagic longline fishery. They also got to meet turtle scientist Ryan Rambaran along with two of uShaka Sea World’s rescued turtles, a Green Turtle Wellington and Loggerhead Turtle, DJ. The chefs were in awe of the threats sea turtles face from fishing activity, as they faced new facts about our oceans. The chefs enjoyed some time snorkelling in the snorkel lagoon getting up close and personal with a variety of fish and sharks. It is through these connections with live animals that a concern for our ocean and all its animals is nurtured. We have no doubt that Chef Terror and Chef Freedom returned to Johannesburg inspired by the staff and animals at uShaka Marine World!

Presha Soogrim – Marine Educator South African Association for Marine Biological Research, Ushaka Sea World

Training at the Two Oceans Aquarium

By | News | No Comments

chef pic       Newsletter CT training

The Two Oceans Aquarium and WWF-SASSI have hosted a series of training workshops for the staff of restaurants who are embarking on sustainable seafood journeys of their own.

The workshop sets the scene by introducing restaurant staff to the issues surrounding unsustainable fishing practices – the impacts of overfishing, pollution, fishing techniques, etc. We then turned attention to solutions!

Attendees are then also tasked with looking at the menus of their own restaurants and finding the SASSI information about the seafood products they offer. To do this, attendees are given access to SASSI’s various consumer tools, such as the pocket guide, SMS tool (FISHMS) and (our favourite) the SASSI smartphone app. This works very well to illustrate how the SASSI tools work, and has equipped restaurant staff with the knowledge to encourage their respective franchises and customers to make use of these tools.

During February and March, three SASSI workshops were presented to 74 managers, chefs and waitrons from Ocean Basket, Sun International Hotels in Cape Town and Port Elizabeth, and the Harbour House Restaurant Group. All are now equipped to make sustainable seafood decisions with the help of WWF SASSI!

Bianca Engel – Deputy Head of Education, Two Oceans Aquarium


Retailers Charting the Course

By | News | No Comments
The most recent WWF-SASSI consumer survey took place in June 2017, with over 1000 South African seafood consumers surveyed by an independent third party. This is one of the graphs showing what was found.

The most recent WWF-SASSI consumer survey took place in June 2017, with over 1000 South African seafood consumers surveyed by an independent third party. This is one of the graphs showing what was found.


Today, consumers in South Africa eat more seafood than ever before, making it the second most consumed protein after eggs. However, consumers have also become more aware about seafood sustainability as WWF-SASSI’s efforts to conscientise them to this issue have increased.

This in turn is driving participants to transform their seafood procurement approach which has resulted in an increasing amount of sustainable seafood being available on the market. This is visible from the increase in participants’ overall commitments to sustainable seafood reflected in the 2017 Retailer/ Supplier Participation Scheme Report “Charting the Course”.

In order to do this participants have needed to find ways to incentivise transformation of the fisheries and farms where the unsustainable species are coming from.

Many participants are in the process of implementing consistent procurement strategies for products such as canned tuna, prawns and salmon (wild-caught and farmed) to ensure their suppliers are implementing best practice in the supply chain and supporting fisheries and suppliers that are working towards more environmentally responsible practices. Some participants have even progressed to a stage where they have MSC certified canned tuna, ASC certified Atlantic (farmed) salmon and/ or ASC certified prawns on their shelves, a significant positive shift for the South African seafood market.

Calamari, however, remains a challenge – especially considering that appears to be the second most consumed seafood in South Africa. While many of the squid species harvested and the fishing methods used to target squid are considered sustainable, there are some that are key to many participants that are on the WWF-SASSI Orange-list due to uncertainties regarding the extent of fishing pressure on the stocks from illegal, unregulated, unreported (IUU) vessels.

One of the ways to change this is to put pressure on suppliers and importers to drive supply chain transparency and to incentivise source fisheries to report catches and provide the level of information required to effectively manage squid stocks.

Challenges such as these may seem insurmountable at an individual company level, however, through effective collaboration participants can collectively drive the necessary positive change in fishing sectors that provide the seafood that consumers demand.

You can download the 2017  WWF-SASSI retailer /Supplier Participation Scheme Report here:

Stephanie Rainier – WWF-SASSI Retail Engagement Officer

WWF-SA Earth Hour Adventure

By | News | No Comments

Newsletter Earth HourKirstenbosch like you’ve never seen before at WWF SA’s Earth Hour 2018, with its second Earth Hour Adventure.

Participants of all ages dashed determinedly through the gardens. Guided by a map and our torches, we searched for hidden WWF checkpoints. The gardens transformed into a mystical forest with twinkles of torchlight in between the trees. There were elated shouts from children as they realised they were out past their bedtime and urgent directions being discussed as participants navigated through the gardens.

Children hunted for Chi Chi, WWF’s Panda Mascot, and got treated to panda (face paint) tattoos. After the adventure, we enjoyed a performance by Robin Pieters and welcomed the showers as we danced in the rain.

Definitely an Earth Hour well spent with nature.

Fiona Kinsey – Events Officer: Strategic Communications WWF-SA

2017 WWF-SASSI Trailblazers

By | News | No Comments

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

By | News | No Comments

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

By | News | No Comments

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

By | News | No Comments

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

By | News | No Comments

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.


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


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