Sustainable seafood is only a text message away. If you find yourself in a seafood restaurant and want to make an eco-smart choice by ordering something sustainably harvested, all you have to do is consult the Southern African Sustainable Seafood Initiative – and it’s at your fingertips.

Did you know?

About 80% of the world's fisheries are thought to be unsustainable.

You’re sitting in one of South Africa's swish seafood restaurants, your menu before you and your conscience twitching somewhere in the background.

As an eco-savvy seafood-lover, you’d like to order something that isn’t on the endangered list. But how are you to know which fish are plentiful, and which are vulnerable? Sustainable seafood is not an easy concept at the cutting edge of a fish knife.

Fortunately, South Africa is one of a few countries in the world where you can check before you order. All you need do is text the name of the fish to a local mobile number, and within seconds you’ll have a reply to your FishMS.

All species of fish you’re likely to find on menus are divided into green, orange and red categories.

Any fish in the green category is being fished responsibly, or is present in the oceans in the kind of numbers that don’t concern scientists. Feel free to order it, in other words.

Fish classified under orange means you should be cautious – these fish stocks are dangerously depleted or are vulnerable. Or the methods used to catch them damage the ecosystem.

The red category shows fish that you should not eat or order under any circumstance. In fact, if it is on your menu, the restaurant may be breaking the law, and you'd be well within your rights to have a word with the chef.

The Southern African Sustainable Seafood Initiative (SASSI) was established in 2004, and is linked to the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).

A number of seafood restaurants, including two nationwide chains, now proudly advertise the fact that they are SASSI-compliant. They are listed on the SASSI website too.

But if you’re in any doubt about your seafood choice, just whip out your cell phone and send your FishMS query to 079 499 8795.

Travel tips & Planning info

Who to contact

Southern Africa Sustainable Seafood Initiative
Tel: +27 (0)21 421 9167
FishMS: +27 (0)79 499 8795
Email: sassi@wwf.org.za