Nowadays, with the sea’s fish running out, one might occasionally get the feeling that ordering your scrumptious hake and chips while gazing over the ocean might not be such a good idea anymore. The decision made all the more difficult seeing as Cape Town has quite the collection of water-adjacent-seafood-restaurants. Luckily there is now one specific restaurant, in fact the only one in Africa, where you can eat fish to your heart’s delight knowing that no ecosystems were harmed in the process.
The Shoreline Cafe, part of the Two Oceans Aquarium, recently received MSC certification and is also (conveniently) the perfect setting for a good harbour gaze. What is MSC certification? Short for Marine Stewardship Council Certification, a rather impressive title – if you’re bothered by the fish decline, that is.
It started with fisheries. The MSC was formed in order to provide fisheries a way of showing their commitment to the environment, but also to reassure themselves that they aren’t contributing to over fishing. The council would visit the fisheries and basically determine whether the fishery is managed in an environmentally responsible way. This process is rather complex and can take up to a year, but it is entirely worth it, because certified fisheries would be able to place a certain blue ecolabel on their products and ensure anyone buying them that they aren’t harming the environment.
To create a way for the general dining out public to have the same assurance, the MSC started certifying restaurants too. Authorities would audit all the paperwork of the restaurant and trace every single product back to the boat where it was first caught. Certified restaurants and their customers will therefore know that all the fish served are fully traceable and also non-harmful to the ocean’s ecosystems.
If you visit the Shoreline Cafe, you will see this label on the menu next to all their fish dishes. This is the way you know for sure that the fish is traceable. And it gives all sea-conscious fish consumers reassurance that they aren’t contributing further to the fish crisis. It also shows that our Aquarium is not only a place to stare wide-eyed at all the amazing fishes, but that they are an environmental institution too. They’re pretty good guys.
So, next time you’re craving that Sunday afternoon fish dish, with a glass of wine, some water to gaze over and the sun on your back, I’d strongly recommend the Shoreline Cafe. Hopefully, in the not so distant future, more restaurants in Cape Town and around South Africa will take up this challenge. So keep your eyes peeled for those blue labels. Because surely the fish deserve at least little attention.