#WorldOceansDay: How you can make a responsible seafood choice

2016-06-08 12:00 - Louzel Lombard
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Cape Town - On Wednesday, 8 June, South Africa celebrates World Oceans Day (WOD) with the world. 

This year, individuals and organizations across our blue planet are celebrating with the theme “Healthy Oceans, Healthy Planet” and are promoting prevention of plastic ocean pollution with events in their communities. 

In SA, celebrations kicked of at the crack of dawn, as Two Oceans Aqarium in Cape Town laucnhed their #MyOceanPromise initiatve. 

#MyOceanPromise: Make waves on World Oceans Day

On the East Coast too, two iconic shark conservation events is being held to coincide with the internationally celebrated WOD - this to place the dwindling shark populations of our country's waters in the limelight. 

#ShockWildlifeTruths: Dwindling SA sharks in focus on World Oceans Day

World Oceans Day is a global day of ocean celebration and collaboration for a better future. 

Being able to make a notable difference in the well-being of the world's vast oceans, however, is often easier said than done. Not everyone can be Boyan Slat, the 21-year-old founder and CEO of The Ocean Cleanup, a simple yet effective project cleaning the world's oceans as we speak. 

But every person on Earth can live a responsible life and tread as lightly as possible on the limited resources Mother Nature provides. 

Apart from keeping oceans clean, which we can all do daily, the protection of wildlife creatures in our oceans serve as an equally important factor, one which we are all responsible for. 

Buying and eating sustainable seafood is one way to show you care, and a very responsible #MyOceanPromise to make on World Oceans Day.  

Eight years ago, SA chain supermarket Woolworths introduced their sustainable seafood policy, becoming South Africa’s first retailer to sign the WWF-SASSI Retail Charter and promising to sell and support only sustainable seafood.

The retailer has since done great work in terms of seafood protection and sustainable use. 

But you don't need to buy from Woolworths to be responsible. By familiarising yourself with the WWF-SASSI principles, you can also choose to make a sustainable choice, regardless of where you shop. 

Going, going, green

When it comes to knowing if you are making the most sustainable seafood choices, there are some easy-to-use tools to assist you.

WWF-SASSI has provided two digital options to check the status of your seafood. 

You can send a FishMS. This service allows consumers to make on-the-spot choices about the seafood with just one SMS. 

Simply type the name of the seafood species into a text message and send it to 079 499 8795 to receive information on the status of that species.

You can also get the easy-to-use app, which allows you to check the sustainability of your seafood choice in real time. Through using it, you can know whether to tuck in, think twice or avoid altogether. It’s free on Android, Blackberry 10 and iOS and downloadable here

You can choose to support restaurants who honour the WWF-SASSI system and serve only seafood in line with sustainability. You can see those chefs and restaurants here

WWF-SASSI says there are always three questions to ask when determining whether a fish choice is sustainable. 

These are key determinants in deciding on which colour list fish are placed on:

1. What is the fish species
2. What is the fishing method 
3. What is the fish origin 

Some seafood may appear on more than one list. For example, yellowfin tuna pole-caught in South Africa is on the green list, bigeye tuna longline caught in South Africa is on the orange list while imported Bluefin tuna is on the red list.

Consider the following WWF-SASSI colour system when buying seafood next 

Here are the official WWF-SASSI Green-listed fish, as well as the red- and orange-listed species to stay clear from. 

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