i ate a restaurant in the northern suburbs back in december and was disappointed to hear that their linefish was unsustainable. see my email to them, below. i won’t mention the name of the restaurant – yet. let’s first see what kind of response i get. and i encourage all of you to start doing the same. i bet many restaurants aren’t even aware that they could be making more responsible choices. they can even consider using this as a marketing gimmick… having a sign outside saying they only stock SASSI Green Fish or something (just checked SASSI website and restaurants CAN become SASSI champions, there’s a whole organised thing around it). let’s hope.
I ate at your restaurant on 13 December 2008. I realise it has been a while since then, but I do not think that the time that has passed diminishes the importance of what I want to say.
I was very interested in having the linefish for dinner that night. Our waitress informed us that it was Cape Salmon. I then sms’ed SASSI (the South African Sustainable Seafood Initiative run by WWF) to see if this fish is acceptable to consume in terms of the populations remaining in our seas. SASSI classifies fish according to RED (don’t ever consume), ORANGE (perhaps acceptable to consume occasionally) or GREEN (okay to consume).
SASSI sms’ed me back instantly with the following message “Cape Salmon (Geelbek). Status: ORANGE. Important and over-exploited commercial linefish stocks in desperate need of recovery.” I changed my order based on this information. I wanted to speak to the manager about it, but was at a celebration dinner with acquaintances and did not want to make a big deal at the time.
However, I really wish to encourage you not to stock fish at your restaurant which are in ORANGE or RED categories on the SASSI list. If more people and restaurants stop accepting overexploited or endangered fish, the fishermen/fishing companies will hopefully become more responsible in what they catch.
I’d like to hear your response to this and hope that perhaps you weren’t aware of the services of SASSI or the damage you are causing to our seas by purchasing such fish.
I hope that if I visit your restaurant again I will not be offered fish on the RED or ORANGE list.