SASSI was initiated in November 2004 in order to inform and educate all participants in the seafood trade, from wholesalers to restaurateurs through to seafood lovers. The initiative builds on an earlier project started in Kwazulu-Natal Province which sought to educate restaurant dealers about the MLRA and other marine conservation issues. It has WWF-SA (via funding from The Green Trust) and the South African Department of Environmental Affairs & Tourism (DEAT) as primary funding/support partners, and Ezemvelo KwaZulu Natal Wildlife, Two Oceans Aquarium, TRAFFIC , Sea World at uShaka, The South African Institute of Aquatic Biodiversity (SAIAB), and the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) as implementing partners.
The 3 primary objectives of SASSI are:
1. Promote voluntary compliance of the law through education and awareness
2. Shift consumer demand away from over-exploited species to more sustainable options
3. Create awareness on marine conservation issues
These objectives are in line with the WWF-SA: Marine Programme targets 3 and 4.
Over the next three years SASSI aims to establish a standardised training network for seafood restaurants and retailers in the major urban centres of South Africa, and to launch a public awareness campaign that will educate consumers and enable them to make informed and sustainable choices when buying seafood.