Good food guide for fish lovers

Posted by Alastair Otter on June 11, 2007
Posted in Food

South African seafood lovers who want to be ecofriendly have never had it so easy. Thanks to the Southern African Sustainable Seafood Initiative (Sassi), information about the types of fish it’s fine to eat and the types that should avoided is just an SMS away, or rather a FishMS.

So, if you’re sitting in a restaurant and you want to make sure the linefish of the day isn’t a vulnerable species, simply text the name of the fish to the number 079-499-8795. You’ll be sent back a message telling you whether the fish’s status is green, orange or red as well as a few words about why.

It works much like a traffic light: “the green list comprises the most sustainable choices from the healthiest and most well-managed populations. Fish on the orange list are under some pressure and consumers are urged to consider alternatives. The red list comprises species which may never be sold,” says Sassi.

The initiative has also put its fish information into a handy booklet and wallet card that can be downloaded from the Internet.

Sassi recently received some kudos from the commercial world, when supermarket chain Pick n Pay joined the initiative “to improve the sustainability of its seafood business”.

The retailer will co-sponsor SASSI for the next three years plus evaluate the current seafood lines it offers, “removing the worst choices, promoting best choices, and improving those associated with conservation concerns”.

SASSI, a project with WWF South Africa, was initiated in 2004. One of its aims is to launch a public awareness campaign to educate consumers and enable them to make informed and sustainable choices when buying seafood.

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