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The State of South Africa’s Fishing Sustainability

A Fisherman's Place - 21 Jan 2021

The State of South Africa’s Fishing Sustainability

Fishing for a Sustainable Future

Oceans provide us with a significant (and often unseen) amount of cultural, social and economic benefits. They provide a recreation area, supply us with food, and act as a gateway to commerce opportunities. Unfortunately, the ocean’s ecosystem has suffered over the decades due to unsustainable fishing methods, rendering fish stock dangerously depleted and marine ecosystems altered.

Pescaluna is an honorary member of SAHLLA and a fresh fish pioneer in Cape Town. We deliver fresh fish straight to your door from our dock in Hout Bay and are a proud, sustainable longline fishery. In this article, Pescaluna navigates the high tide of fishing practices, introduces the heroes who protect our oceans, and advises on the importance of sustainable fishing.

An Oath to the Ocean


The commercial fish industry brings food security, healthy seafood choices and an economic helping hand to South Africa’s dinner tables. Every day in Cape Town, thousands of people enjoy affordable, tasty fish meals; whether it’s canned tuna, scrumptious parcels of hake and chips, or in fine dining experiences ordering (locally caught) rock lobster. And for thousands of years, people have fished to put food on the table for their families and communities.

Not all fresh fish in Cape Town is procured from sustainable fishing methods, although here at Pescaluna, we deliver fresh fish that is sustainably caught, straight to your door in Cape Town, from our dock in Hout Bay.

We believe in order to continue relying on the ocean as a significant food source, fishing sectors will need to drastically employ sustainable fishing practices:

● Sustainable fishing methods guarantee the future of ocean and freshwater wildlife.

● The aquatic ecosystem is home to countless species of fish which are consumed as food, and species which are harvested for economic growth; oysters produce the pearls used in jewelry.

● In many cultures, seafood is an important source of protein and healthy fats.

● The demand for seafood, alongside the advancement of technology, has led to questionable fresh fishing practices that are depleting aquatic populations all over the globe.

Not So Plenty of Fish in the Sea

Catching large amounts of fresh fish at a time, (although an immediate payoff for fishermen) can result in species depleting faster than they can replenish themselves through reproduction.

This is a global concern- not only for the fishing industry but for campaigns promoting seafood to consumers. Even chains like Pick n Pay and Woolworths are working alongside SASSI (South African Sustainable Seafood Initiative) to improve their seafood procurement. It is the responsibility of our fishing sectors to:

● Adopt sustainable fishing methods to ensure the longevity of our world’s oceans.

● To promote responsible seafood choices to consumers, by shifting the demand for overexploited species, to more sustainable species.

● Be more environmentally ethical.

So who is out there to protect Mother Earth’s waters?

The Ocean’s Bodyguards


The MSC (Marine Stewardship Council) is an international NPO that influences how consumers buy seafood. They work with partners to make the fishing industry more sustainable and use a labelling system and fishery certification program to acknowledge and reward sustainable fishing practices.


The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) established the South African Sustainable Seafood Initiative (SASSI) in 2004 with the purpose of educating members involved

in the seafood trade about sustainable seafood and fishing methods (wholesalers, the hospitality industry, and consumers).

SASSI has taken the liberty of categorising seafood into “green light”, “orange light” and “red light” species in accordance with their conservation status:

Green light species: Fresh fish species such as hake and yellowtail have healthy populations.

Orange light species: Fresh fish species such as kingklip and kabeljou run the risk of being overfished.

Red light species: Fresh fish species such as white stumpnose and galjoen are highly protected and cannot, by law, be sold.


The South African Hake Longline Association is another ally of the ocean. They are a body who monitor fisheries who have been allocated a Right to fish for hake by longline method. Now that we know who protects our oceans, let’s look at trawling and longline fishing methods.

Trawling vs Longline Fishing Methods


A common practice used by commercial fisheries around the world is known as bottom trawling. In this fresh fishing method a large, heavy net is dragged along the ocean’s floor which ultimately scoops up everything in its path.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to put the pieces together;
this method of fishing can cause significant environmental damage.

● Unintended species (potentially endangered) could get caught in these nets, further depleting them.

● These nets can cause severe destruction to shallow seabeds.

Bottom trawling targets the species of fish that live near the seabed, such as cod, various kinds of squid and shrimp, and rockfish, which are considered commercially valuable.

The gear that is used in this method of fishing is able to scoop up thousands of fresh fish and other marine animals in one single swoop. Not only does this method kill many species of fish and marine life, but it also severely damages the seabed.

● It dislodges sediment and in turn, destroys the natural habitat of ground-dwelling organisms.

● It makes the water more opaque, which can become unsuitable for living conditions.


Longline fishing refers to a technique (used by commercial fishermen) where a long or mainline is baited with multiple hooks. These lines are then cast out into the sea and eventually anchor themselves to the seabed, which is common in demersal longlining, or they are left to drift in the water, which is common in pelagic longlining.

● Demersal longline fishing is extremely effective in catching groundfish such as cod or halibut.

● Swordfish and tuna are easier to catch with pelagic longlining. The baiting on these long lines occur at well-spaced intervals; this technique of catching fresh fish is regarded as a more conservative, habitat-friendly method of catching fish (when compared to other practices).

● Longline fishing is far more preferable to trawling when it comes to protecting and preserving the ocean floor.

● Longline fishing is considered to have little impact on vulnerable aquatic ecosystems.

Consumers have been exposed to the benefits of longline fishing, and have, in turn, opted for line-caught fresh fish products. This significant shift has prompted many fishing industries over the globe to adopt a method of longline fishing. One of which is Pescaluna. A fresh fish pioneer in Cape Town, and proud advocate for longline sustainability.

“Hake longline fish is our speciality and it finds high demand in markets all over the world including, but not limited to, Spain and France where it is enjoyed as Africa's Greatest Catch.

We provide fresh and frozen fish around the world with over 20 years of experience in sustainable fishing practices and culinary knowledge.”
- Team Pesca

Fresh Fish Delivery in Cape Town

Pescaluna delivers fresh fish to your door in Cape Town, straight from our dock in Hout Bay. Our sustainable fresh fish menu is filled with Africa’s Greatest Catches, perfect for contemporary, African-inspired seafood dishes.

There are two species of hake in South Africa’s waters; the deep-water hake and the shallow-water hake. The hake longline fishery operates on Mzansi’s West and South coasts, and although these species are entirely separate species of fresh fish in the marine ecosystem, they are caught, processed and distributed under the name ‘Cape Hake’. Pescaluna enforces sustainable fishing methods to catch their hake. They also deliver fresh fish straight to your door in Cape Town, from their dock in Hout Bay.

Pescaluna is renowned for their fresh fish, and on the top of the list, you’ll find none other than hake. Hake is simply the most creamy and succulent fish to be found in South Africa. If treated and prepared well and with traditional methods, you'll be left with a piece of fish that is soft in texture and compliments the other flavours on your plate perfectly.

Have a look at some of Pescaluna’s green-status catches!

Fresh Kingklip

What's easier and quicker to prepare than a boneless piece of Kingklip? Being low in fat means that these portions have light taste profiles and can easily soak up the flavours around them in a dish. Overall a versatile fish for anyone new to the fish culinary world.

SASSI status: Green

Fresh Tuna

Tuna is a meatier fish with a rich and strong flavour profile due to its high oil content. We have cleaned and cut the Tuna into convenient (250g - 280g) portions meaning it goes straight on your grill.

SASSI status: Green

Fresh Yellowtail

Yellowtail has subtle hints of sweetness and moderately high levels of fat, which gives the fish a buttery texture. Often confused with Tuna, this fish is milder in complexity and therefore easier on the palate.

SASSI status: Green

Fresh Snoek

Snoek and braai, could anything taste more South African? Add some apricot jam to the mix and you're in for a savoury and sweet combination that gives you the taste of home.

SASSI status: Green


At Pescaluna, we aim to inspire people to love fish. We deliver a variety of sustainable fresh fish to your door in Cape Town, straight from our dock in Hout Bay, which we cover in grease paper and brown wrap. This is our way of ensuring industry-sustainability even after we’ve caught the fish. In our next article, Pescaluna uncovers the catch, clean, factory, and delivery process of fresh fish in Cape Town.


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