It is almost time for the over-indulgent season and we are all thinking about what meals to put on our festive table. Before you get too carried away with your seafood menu, you should have a look at the endangered fish and shellfish list so you prepare an ethical meal. Most consumers are unaware that there is a guideline to prevent endangered species becoming extinct. The more shocking misinformation is that there are so many of your favorites on that endangered list. West Coast Rock Lobster, the Pink Prawn, Mozambique Prawns, Galjoen and most recently Blue Swimmer Crabs are all no go zones. They are red on the South African Sustainable Seafood Initiative (SASSI) list, which means you cannot purchase or eat them.
Abalone and Bluefin Tuna are also some of the fish that are listed as endangered species by SASSI. It is not just pollution and climate change that are dimming the future of our fish, humans also play a huge role.
According to SASSI, overfishing is one of the major contributors in the potential extinction of the water population. “There has been a dramatic increase in the amount of fish and other marine creatures taken out of the seas in recent decades, and globally many fish stocks are already fully fished or overexploited.”
SASSI notes that it is not only overfishing that is destroying the marine life, but also the methods that are used when fishing. Commercial trawling, which is a method of fishing that involves pulling a fish from the water behind the boat, is one of those methods.
Consumers are urged to choose suppliers who supply fish that are not on the red or orange list. The traffic light system is recommended to check if their choice of seafood is sustainable or not.
The easy-to-use ‘traffic light’ system tells you which seafood can be eaten with a clear conscience (Green list), which seafood you should think twice about (Orange list), and which seafood should be avoided altogether because it is either considered unsustainable or illegal to sell in South Africa (Red list).
Find your SASSI colour-coded seafood guide here.