Working to transform fisheries

Working to transform fisheries

“As a result of growing interest in sustainable seafood, 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.”

We want to improve fishing practices that are destructive to our ocean and we want to encourage fishers to use more sustainable methods. Destructive fishing practices cover issues like illegal fishing, overfishing, bycatch (the incidental capture of species not targeted by fishers) and habitat destruction.

We believe that stakeholders can work together to stop over-exploitation of the seas and create a sustainable seafood industry. SASSI undertakes this work through tools such as fishery improvement projects (FIPs) and fishery conservation projects (FCPs).

Fishery Improvement Projects
FIPs are initiatives that aim to enable fisheries to reach the sustainability standards that are required by credible third party assessment schemes, namely the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC). We consider MSC certification to be the gold standard of eco-labelling for seafood products.

Fishery Conservation Projects
FCPs are local initiatives that are less comprehensive in nature. They are entered into by WWF-South Africa on a case-by-case basis. These projects focus on improving the environmental performance of a fishery, which has not yet developed a strategy for improvement against MSC standards or is not seeking MSC certification.

This might sound complicated, but simply put, these projects are a sign of commitment to sustainable seafood. The WWF’s global fisheries programme, the Smart Fishing Initiative (SFI), has developed a detailed guide on FIPs and FCPs, including minimum requirements for WWF support and global recognition of these projects. For more information on FIPs and FCPs, see the Fisheries in Transition document. If you’d like to know more detail about local improvement initiatives, please contact us.

Procurement guidelines
We realise that sometimes it is not possible to bring an entire fishing sector under improvement – as would be the case with an FIP or FCP – therefore WWF-SA has also developed procurement guidelines for species that are important to the South African seafood market. WWF-SASSI Retailer / Supplier Participants can adopt these guidelines to ensure that their suppliers are implementing best available practices – regardless of the practices of the broader sector.  Procurement guidelines are available for tuna, salmon, prawn and South African linefish.