With the popularity of fish as a healthy substitute for chicken, pork or beef more and more, people start choosing it as a dinner and dining option.
While South Africa has a great variety of fish species the diversity of habitat and lifestyles means that some fish are more plentiful than others, some grow faster and others slower, and that some breed more frequently and abundantly.
It is estimated that 75% of global fish stocks are either exploited at maximum levels, or overexploited. In South Africa, many commercially important linefish species are overexploited. Some fisheries are very selective and catch almost exclusively the species they target,
while others are non-selective and may catch fish and other animals that are not intended.
These non-target animals such as other fish and sharks that are caught are called bycatch.
When a fish species is overfished it becomes less and less available until it disappears from your fish market and restaurant menu. Continued overfishing is damaging to everyone involved, from the fish and ecosystem, to the communities whose livelihoods depend on fishing, through to seafood retailers, and you, the consumer.
Make an informed decision
Next time you go to supermarket, fish market or restaurant use SASSI's(Southern African Sustainable Seafood Initiative) guide to make an informed decision.
These are species that are from relatively healthy and well-managed populations that can sustain current fishing pressure. Some green species are not targeted by any particular fishery, but are managed as a sustainable bycatch. These species are recommended as the most sustainable choices available.
These species may be sold by retailers but the increased demand for these could compromise the sustainability. The are considered orange because of potential overfishing, methods used to catch it may damage the environment and biology of the species may not be able to cope with heavy fishing.
Prawns (locally trawled)
East coast rock lobster
West coast steenbras
These species are illegal to sell or buy in SA. These species cannot handle commercial fishing pressures and can only be caught with a recreational fishing permit.
To see the complete list for each category go to SASSI.com.