The sea provides us with an abundance of life as well as many, often unseen economic, social and cultural benefits. It acts as a transport route, contributes to national economies, provides a place for recreation and, most importantly, it supplies food or income for 2.6 billion people worldwide. Unfortunately, particularly since the advent of large scale commercial fishing and the pollution of our oceans, marine life and ecosystems have been severely compromised and many species have either been declared extinct or are dangerously close to extinction. This includes a number of key species, whose disappearance from the ocean would have a devastating effect on marine life in general. Here are some alarming statistics from the SASSI website:
- 85% of the world´s fish stocks are either overexploited or exploited to their maximum (2010 United Nation’s Food and Agricultural Organisation report).
- No fishing gear is completely selective. As a result, many non-target fish or #endangered species of albatrosses, sharks and turtles are accidentally caught as bycatch. Globally, it is estimated that approximately a quarter of what is caught is thrown back, often dead, and wasted (2010 United Nation’s Food and Agricultural Organisation report).
- Some fishing techniques pose a threat to marine habitats which are the life support system for marine life.
- Marine ecosystems exist in a delicate balance – therefore harvesting a species can have implications for the function of the entire system.’
The SASSI sustainability index? Do you know about it?
SASSI is an acronym for the Southern African Sustainable Seafood Initiative and was initiated by WWF South Africa in 2004 to inform and educate all role players in the seafood trade from the fishing indistry, wholesalers and restaurants right through to the end consumers of seafood (that’s us if we eat fish). According to SASSI, they have three main objectives:
- To promote voluntary compliance of the law through education and awareness
- To shift consumer demand away from over-exploited species to more #sustainable options
- To create awareness around marine #conservation issues
SASSI also offers a fantastic service which makes it really easy to find out the colour code of any fish you may be about to buy or order. (Thanks to Linda, one of the Organic at Heart Facebook fans for posting this great bit of information), There is a cell phone number (go on save it to your phone NOW) you can dial, sms the name of the fish and within seconds you will receive an sms with not only the colour code (gree, orange or red) of the fish in question, but also some really useful info to help you make a responsible choice to the benefit of the marine environment as well as to your tummy. The number is 079 4998795. I did exactly that on Saturday night before placing my order. I sms’d 079 4998795 with the word ‘kabeljou’, pressed ‘Send’. Within minutes I received my answer and placed my order. What a pleasure! Try it – it works like a dream! They call it a Fish ms
(For more info on SASSI and ocean conswervation, go to their websitehttp://www.wwfsassi.co.za
With lots of love from the heart of the Organic Tart!