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: https://wwfsassi.co.za/wp-content/uploads/Report-Charting-the-course-2017.pdf
Stephanie Rainier – WWF-SASSI Retail Engagement Officer