Seas of Possibility: WWF-SASSI Annual Retailer & Supplier Participation Report

The WWF-SASSI Retailer/Supplier Participation scheme continues to grow both in relevance and in the number of participants, working with 10 of South Africa’s leading retailers and suppliers of seafood! As the participants work toward achieving their public commitments to seafood sustainability, the WWF-SASSI programme facilitates collaborative efforts to address key seafood sustainability challenges facing the sector. You can download the latest report of the scheme, Seas of Possibilities which fosters collaboration for healthy and productive oceans.

Strong collective collaborations will ensure that a strong market driver for fisheries and aquaculture operations to improve and employ best practices continues. Participants are encouraged to advocate for better management practices, both locally and internationally, as there is significant scope for fisheries improvement.  Of importance, is a greater emphasis on ecological interactivity, ecosystem impacts of fishing and social-ecological interactions. In order to comprehensively address these challenges, transformational changes and joint action are needed across the seafood supply chain. One success story has been the participants-led engagement with the Namibian Hake association in 2015 requesting improvements in the fishery, culminating in the fishery being certified against the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) standard for wild-caught seafood. Similar pressure can be used to drive more aquaculture operations to aim for and achieve Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) certification along with chain of custody certifications.

The retailer/supplier participation scheme will transition to a more collaborative approach with the formation of the seafood alliance. The alliance will collectively address challenges such as mislabelling, transparency and traceability that will significantly curtail Illegal, Unreported & Unregulated fishing activities. The annual MSC & WWF-SASSI Sustainable Seafood Symposium in May also aids to optimise these efforts among key stakeholders in the industry.

These are necessary steps that we are part of driving to optimise sustainability through collective collaboration in South Africa’s seas of possibilities.

Amir Rezaei, WWF-SASSI Market Transformation Officer