Feb Be Wary: SASSI’s red list

We believe that loving the ocean means acting in a way that protects it. Saying no to red listed species is one way we asked ocean lovers to show their love to the big blue for ‘Feb be wary’. Red-listed species include our national fish, galjoen and other national treasures like red stumpnose and red Steenbras. Not forgetting, blue swimming crab and the Japanese yellowtail amberjack often confused with our local yellowtail species. Here’s more on why these species are special.

Galjoen enjoy the security of staying in one place whilst only a small percentage are nomadic. This species is near threatened and is a no sale recreational species meaning that is illegal to sell or buy. Whilst recreational fisherman with a valid permit may catch them, it is illegal to sell their catch. As per the Responsible Angler Guidelines, recreational fishers are requested to not retain but rather tag and release this special species.

Yellowtail Amberjack (Seriola quinqueradiata), often confused with local SA yellowtail (Seriola lalandi) is actually farmed in Japan. This species is red listed for cage farming in Japan as these cages are open to the ocean, waste (faeces, food, anti-fouling agents or medicine used to treat sea lice) is released directly into the surrounding water, chemically contaminating our ocean. This waste discharge and poor compliance with aquaculture regulations makes this species a no go in our books. Say no to Yellowtail Amberjack and opt for green listed, local and sustainable Yellowtail instead.

Red stumpnose, fondly known as Miss Lucy, is red listed for linefishing and inshore trawl. This majestic marine species has a steep forehead which, in males, become increasingly pronounced as they get older. Sadly, Miss Lucy is overfished and endangered. This means you have every reason to protect this fish and keep it off your dinner plate.

Red steenbras are a popular species amongst anglers because this fish is caught on just about any bait. This has meant that they are easily fished sadly earning them Endangered status. This red listed species is rated as a no-sale species within South Africa. Only recreational fishers with a permit may catch them following bag and size limits within season only. A no sale recreational species is one that is illegal to sell so rather tag and release these fish.

Blue swimming crab (Portunus pelagicus & Portunus trituberculatus) are very special creatures. Interesting behaviours of the male crabs include being more territorial in colder water. These species are caught using demersal trawl nets which may impact ETP species, i.e Endangered, Threatened or Protected species such as sharks, rays and turtles.

We protect what we love, and this should extend to our oceans too – say no to red listed species on your dinner plate. Loving our oceans means protecting them and allowing our marine life to thrive. The power is in your hands!