Red & orange list fish in SA | seafood you should think twice about buying

Posted on 11 June 2024 By Louise Bell

While eating seafood can be a banquet of flavours and textures, some aquatic species are under threat. From the effects of overfishing to the deterioration of their habitat, there are a variety of reasons why marine life has been placed on the red list.

Unsplash/kate estes

The South African Sustainable Seafood Initiative (SASSI) notes that the red list includes several illegal fish to buy in South Africa. While the red list is obvious to avoid, species on the orange list are also discouraged from being purchased due to their diminishing population numbers. By making informed choices, you can play a crucial role in protecting these species.

Need help determining which sustainable and safe seafood items to add to your grocery list? Here are a few species to remove or limit from your diet.

Red list

  • Abalone
  • Bluefin tuna
  • Baardman
  • Geelbek
  • Banded galjoen
  • East Coast rock lobster
  • Brindle bass (which is prohibited from being removed from the ocean under any circumstance),
  • Etc. 

Orange list

While this selection is legally sold in South Africa, the orange list species could be threatened. This means purchasing these water-breathing creatures should be limited while the odd can, cut, or meal can be bought or ordered. Take a look at some fishy friends to restrict in your diet:

  • Octopus
  • Certain types of prawns
  • Kingklip (specifically the species caught using the offshore demersal trawling method)
  • Hake (within the bounds of Namibia)
  • Santer
  • Cape Dory

One to keep your eye on

While still classified as “green” on the SASSI list, anchovies have become a topic of concern due to the low 2023 anchovy catches report from the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE). This could mean you’ll potentially see anchovies make their way to the orange/red side of the list if these statistics persist.

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