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Fish for Good is a four-year project aimed at guiding fisheries in South Africa, Indonesia and Mexico towards more sustainable fishing practices.

Fish for Good is sponsored by the Dutch National Postcode Lottery.

Fish for Good South Africa

Fish for Good South Africa

Why South Africa?

South Africa is flanked by two highly biodiverse and productive large marine ecosystems, the Benguela and Agulhas currents. A wide variety of fisheries take advantage of the fish stocks in these two marine ecosystems, ranging from large industrialised fleets to small artisanal operations. Together, these fisheries are very important to the national economy and to the livelihoods of coastal communities.



people rely on the fisheries sector for their livelihood
Many of the


small scale fishing-reliant households lack food security 
Total annual wild fisheries catch


South Africa's seafood


exported to Europe
Wild-caught seafood industry is worth

678 million

US Dollars

How does it work?

Stage 1 - mapping

The MSC conducted a scan of the 63 fisheries in South Africa and, based on the results, selected 18 fisheries for deeper mapping. Those fisheries are mapped according to their target species, areas fished, gear(s) used and catch volumes. Stock status, environmental impacts and market potential are also taken into account. 

Stage 2 - pre-assessments

The Fish for Good advisory group evaluated the findings and selected nine fisheries to be pre-assessed against the MSC Fisheries Standard

The pre-assessment process measures the performance of each fishery against the MSC Standard and identifies areas for improvement. Pre-assessment of the nine fisheries is undertaken by an accredited third-party assessor. 

Stage 3 - action plan development and implementation

The advisory group has selected five of the nine fisheries to undertake action plan development and proceed into Fishery Improvement Projects. The five selected fisheries, shown on the map below, are:

Yellowfin tuna 
Albacore tuna 
East Coast rock lobster 

During the action plan stage, the gaps identified in Stage 2 are translated into a 'to do' list for each fishery so that stakeholders can work together towards improved sustainability. This stage will be undertaken by the project’s implementing partner WWF South Africa. After stage 3, some fisheries may be in a position to enter full assessment for MSC certification.

Locations of the 6 Fish for Good fisheries in South Africa

Project stages

Stage 1

Stage 2

Stage 3

When?April 2018 – June 2018
June 2018 – June 2019June 2019 onwards
What?Mapping fisheries in the regionAssessing baseline performance and identifying areas for improvementDeveloping action plans to improve fisheries' performance against the MSC indicators
Building fisheries profiles through desk research
Conducting large-scale gap analysis of fisheries' performance against the MSC Standard Agreeing on actions and stakeholders' responsibilities to address the gaps defined in Stage 2 
By who?The MSCAccredited third-party assessorCollaborative stakeholder effort 

18 fisheries mapped 

9 fisheries pre-assessed 

5 fisheries' action plans 

Advisory group

The advisory group represents stakeholders in South Africa’s fishing and seafood sectors. It is tasked with providing co-ordinated advice on the development and continuing implementation of the Fish for Good project. The advisory group offers independent views representing a variety of informed perspectives in addressing the effectiveness of project activities. Nominations to the advisory group were made at stakeholder focussed meetings that incorporated the commercial fishing industry, seafood market professionals, government, small scale fishers and non-governmental organisations.


Celebrating Fish For Good

Celebrating Fish For Good

Setting a course for sustainable fishing in South Africa.

Squid: The Cape's Hope

Fish For Good is working with the squid fishery to optimise sustainability, safeguard stocks and protect local livelihoods.
Squid: The Cape's Hope



Coastal Transkei communities are heavily dependent on the ocean for their livelihoods. The Fish for Good project aims to guide the South African East Coast rock lobster fishery on its journey to sustainability; giving them the support and tools to improve their fishing practices.


A well-managed rope grown mussel fishery has limited impact on the environment and continues to provide for the people who depend on it. Fish for Good is guiding the Saldanha Bay mussel fishery in South Africa towards sustainability; providing long-term employment opportunities for the local community.
Fish for Good South Africa
Description: Find out more about Fish for Good and how it is helping South African fisheries set a course for sustainable fishing.
Language: English
Date of issue: 18 August 2020
Download download file PDF - 2 MB

Contact us

Please contact [email protected] to find out more about how the MSC is supporting small-scale fisheries in South Africa in becoming more sustainable.

Find out more