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Ocean Basket’s commitment to sustainable seafood

From Ocean Basket - Fatz Lazarides, Pedro Sambento, Nana Lloyd, Grace Harding. From Ocean Basket - Fatz Lazarides, Pedro Sambento, Nana Lloyd, Grace Harding.

Ocean Basket, a South African seafood market, recently announced that they are committed to transforming their wild capture seafood procurement to meet strict sustainability standards by the end of 2017.

Roelof Brink, head of strategic sourcing at Ocean Basket, said, “The reality is that the world’s oceans are under grave threat and as a national seafood restaurant franchise we have a responsibility to actively promote sustainability in our supply chains.”

“Our overall aim is to increase the availability of sustainable seafood and promote responsible fishing and farming practices, recognising that a significant proportion of the world's fisheries/aquaculture facilities do not currently meet internationally accepted standards of sustainability.”

The group also aims to ensure that by 2020 all seafood procured from aquaculture operations is responsibly produced.

The franchise has also promised to inform consumers of the common and scientific names, the country of origin as well as the catch/production method of all seafood sold. This will enable Ocean Basket customers to effectively use WWF-SA’s Southern African Sustainable Seafood Initiative (SASSI) consumer tools to determine the sustainability status of the seafood they are buying.

Ocean Basket staff will also be trained to help customers make environmentally conscious seafood choices. 

Grace Harding, the company leader of the Ocean Basket Group, said, “Ocean Basket acknowledges that our customers have a right to sufficient and accurate information in order to be able to make environmentally responsible choices. We will ensure that by the end of this year relevant species information is publicly available in store for all seafood products that we sell.”

Harding went on to say that Ocean Basket was aware of global concern over the over-exploitation of seafood resources and the environmental impacts of fishery and aquaculture activities on marine ecosystems.

“Ocean Basket will support sustainable and well-managed fisheries and responsible aquaculture operations. We believe this is critical, not only to building a sustainable business model, but also to the long-term maintenance of healthy and productive marine ecosystems, species and livelihoods.”

Ocean Basket has committed to ensuring that by 2017 they will only sell wild-captured seafood products that are:

• Certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) or equivalent standard; or

• On the SASSI Green-list; (currently Ocean Basket menus are 49% SASSI green-listed),or

• Sourced from fisheries that are actively engaged in credible, time-bound improvement projects.

Furthermore Ocean Basket committed to ensuring that by 2020 they will only sell farmed seafood products that are:

• Certified by the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) or equivalent standard; or

• On the SASSI Green-list, or

• Sourced from farms that are actively engaged in credible, time-bound improvement projects.

“Ocean Basket’s commitment will make the work SASSI is doing even more relevant to the consumer. Only with a strong pull from the market - of which Ocean Basket represents a huge chunk – can we popularise sustainable policies and incentivise fisheries to improve their practise,” commented Chris Kastern from Southern African Sustainable Seafood Initiative (SASSI).

Dr Morné du Plessis, WWF-SA’s Chief Executive Officer commented, “It is very encouraging to see the proactive approach that Ocean Basket is taking by not only addressing its own internal seafood sustainability challenges but at the same time supporting broader engagement with the seafood supply chain. This commitment will contribute significantly to our on-going efforts to keep our fish stocks at healthy levels.”

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