The science of SASSI

Have you ever wondered how your seafood gets its SASSI colours? And just as you’ve gotten used to the pocket card, it changes! The WWF-SASSI list is an on-going process, with new species being assessed as required. The WWF-SASSI seafood database, assessments, and tools are regularly updated using the “Common Wild Capture Fishery Methodology”. In order to ensure that the methodology is up to date and globally applicable, it is updated from time to time by fisheries scientists, the North Sea Foundation and WWF fisheries experts from Africa, Asia, Europe and the United States. This methodology is considered best practice for consumer seafood guides and is transparent and consistent across borders.

The Common Wild Capture Fishery Methodology scores a species across three categories, namely (1) stock status, (2) ecological impacts of the fishery in which the species is caught, and (3) the management measures in place for that particular fishery. The aquaculture methodology scores a species across four categories, namely (1) regional production system (and siting), (2) feed, (3) ecological effects, and (4) management. Based on the score received, a species is listed on the WWF-SASSI seafood list as Red, which includes species from unsustainable populations as well as species that are illegal to buy or sell in South Africa; Orange, which includes species or fishing/farming methods that have associated ecological reasons for concern; or Green, which includes species that are the most sustainably managed.

WWF-SA undertakes significant efforts to develop the WWF-SASSI assessments through an objective, transparent and collaborative process, where assessments are desktop reviews of available scientific fisheries information. This provides broad-level guidance to consumers and retailers on a particular species per fishing method per country.

And there you have it, the science of the SASSI list!

Kirtanya, WWF-SASSI Project Officer & Monica Stassen, WWF-SASSI Assessment Coordinator