Monthly Archives: December 2021

New SASSI Fish ID App launched for National Marine Month 2021

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October marked National Marine Month and something exciting has been brewing at the SASSI Headquarters. If you have ever had difficulty identifying the species of the seafood at your local fish counter, we have an answer for you. Our new FishID app is a seafood identification system in the palm of your hand. This new SASSI tool will make identifying your favourite sustainable seafood species much easier. All you need to do is scan the fish top to tail at a fish counter and the app will do the work for you. The app currently only identifies a limited list of species & improves as more images are submitted by ocean champions like you.

Download the app by searching “SASSI FishID” in your Appstore or click here for Android:

And here for iOS:

The species currently identifiable by SASSI FishID are as follows:


Atlantic salmon

Black musselcracker


Blood snapper

Blue Swimming Crab

Blue shark

Brindle bass rock cod

Bronze bream

Cape Stumpnose

Common smooth-hound shark





Great white shark




King fish






Natal Stumpnose

New Zealand Ling



Potato bass rock cod


Rainbow trout

Red Drum

Red Stumpnose


River snapper


Shortfin mako shark


Soupfin shark

Spotted grunter



Striped catshark



Twineye skate

White steenbras

White stumpnose

Yellow-belly rock cod


Yellowtail amberjack




Choose green for the penguins

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The Penguin Town Netflix docu-series followed the struggles and triumphs of the Boulders penguin breeding colony in Simon’s Town. Every year, 2500 African penguins gather here. Their mission: find a mate, make babies and not go extinct! But did you know, 95% of the world’s African penguins have already disappeared (and the numbers keep dropping every year)?

This is a result of:

✔️Lack of availability of their preferred prey: pelagic fish like sardines and anchovy. 🎣

​​✔️Climate change 🌊

​​✔️Oiling events 🛢️

✔️Predation 🐱🦭

Did you know that these penguins are classified as endangered by the IUCN, and their numbers decrease by an alarming rate of 5% each year? We really need decision-makers to listen to the science and act to manage fisheries better, and expand marine protected areas. You can help by making informed seafood choices with SASSI – choose green to #SavetheAfricanPenguin

WWF debut a special panel discussion on the plight of the African penguin, moderated by Oscar winner Pippa Ehrlich (of My Octopus Teacher. and Sea Change Project ). This included members of SANCCOB saves seabirds, Red Rock Films and Pavitray Pillay and Craig Smith of WWF South Africa on how to save the African penguin.

Click here to watch the full discussion.

Know Your Fish – World Oceans Day 2021

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World Oceans Day on 8 June attracted ocean champions with arty prizes, when they downloaded and screenshot the SASSI app. Read your labels and #knowyourfish was the order of the day 🐠 as we asked “What’s on your plate?” Sometimes you think you know, sometimes you take things at face value. But as always, the fine print always reveals the catch – literally. If you look at your crabstick boxes you will see that this is made of hake, not crab. On menus you may see ‘salmon trout’ (actually rainbow trout). Salmon is orange listed, whilst trout is green listed. There is no such thing as salmon trout! Trout is actually a great green listed alternative to salmon. If you look at your seafood packaging you will learn that haddock is in fact smoked hake. It all comes down to knowing your fish and reading labels, to truly know what’s on your plate.

When you choose green you are making a decision to help our oceans! Using the SASSI app to make green listed choices means you protecting endangered, threatened and protected species, and that species in trouble are able to recover. We are hopeful about a bountiful future. We are taking action for the oceans. Are you?

Choose local seafood to combat climate change!

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One way to be a climate hero is by checking the SASSI list and making a sustainable seafood choice. This is in line with 4 principles that actually govern the 26th COP (Conference of the Parties) summit that will bring states together to accelerate action towards Climate Change. These are:

Encourage healthy living; Encourage more sustainable behaviour; Promote the use of responsible sources and responsible use of resources throughout the supply chain; Leave a positive legacy

The best you can do to combat climate change effects is to choose local seafood!

Did you know that choosing certain seafood 🐠 over others can satisfy the palate and also help reduce climate impacts? The where and how of fish matters!

⛽ Seafood’s carbon footprint is mostly affected by fuel consumption. For example, a large boat 🛳 traveling the high seas to catch a migratory species is going to burn a lot more fuel than a small boat 🛥 traveling less distance to catch a local species.

📍Where the seafood is processed also can increase its carbon footprint. Even if caught without much travel, shipping seafood for foreign processing and then importing it for sale can skyrocket fuel and energy consumption, leading to higher emission rates 🏭

The tools used to catch seafood can also have variable climate impacts. Purse seines – large nets that can be drawn closed, like a bag – have among the smallest carbon footprints of capture methods. Opting for locally caught and processed seafood can be one of the best ways to combat the high fuel consumption resulting from foreign catch and processing.

🐟Small, lower trophic, pelagic species (those at the near bottom of the food chain) like anchovies & herring have much lower carbon footprints.

Read more here from Yale!

Lockdown lessons from South Africa’s fisheries: Building resilience in small-scale fishing communities

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The WWF South Africa Marine Team has been working with the Fish forward 2 Project and the latest study looked at the socio-economic impact of Covid-19 on South African fisheries with a focus on small-scale fisheries.

Individuals in the supply chain as well as small scale fishers in coastal communities across 4 coastal provinces were interviewed about socio-economic conditions before the pandemic, during the first hard lockdown, when lockdown restrictions were relaxed and finally when restrictions were reimplemented during the second wave.

The study found that the industrial fishing sector which had greater access to finances, networks and other resources was better able to absorb the stressors and shocks of last year’s lockdowns. But sadly, the same cannot be said about the small-scale fisheries sector. Small-scale fishers had difficulty adapting to the sudden changes and limitations in operations brought about by the various phases of the lockdown. These impacts were also not equal: small-scale fisheries in some coastal provinces faced more devastating impacts than others.

Fortunately, formally recognised fishers were seen as providing an essential service and awarded permits to fish during lockdown. But still, there were instances where they were prevented from fishing. Fishers who were not formally recognised could only operate using a recreational permit, yet recreational fishing was prohibited during the “hard” lockdown. As a result, many fishers suffered a shortage of seafood protein and food.

The Covid-19 pandemic and associated lockdown amplified pre-existing vulnerabilities of small-scale fishers. Many are still excluded from formal supply chains and the inequities and inequalities of the past have not been fully addressed. Fishers still need to be adequately empowered and capacitated!

But not all is doom and gloom as light at the end of the tunnel is emerging through functional co-operatives helping fishers navigate these sudden shocks by building resilience in small-scale fishing communities.

Download the 2021 report here

Written by Monica Stassen, Marine Scientist at WWF South Africa




The Global Ocean Agenda

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As time passes, the ocean agenda moves forward in climate discussions. The Paris Agreement was a turning point, and from COP21 onward, there has been an increased interest for the ocean.

🐟Knowledge and science on the ocean-climate interactions are growing and the IPCC Reports on the 1.5°C increase and impacts on our Ocean

🐟National engagement: The ocean is now increasingly considered in climate policies

🐟Mobilization and awareness raising is on the increase

🐟Policy mainstreaming for ocean resilience is underway

The theme of the next CBD COP 15 conference is “Ecological Civilization: Building a Shared Future for All Life on Earth”. Here, the Convention on Biological Diversity  is set to review the achievement and delivery of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020. This aims to also extend beyond 2020 with a global biodiversity framework that includes a target to conserve 30% of the ocean by 2030! For more, see this link: