The World Wide Fund for Nature in SA (WWF-SA) is urging South Africans to avoid eating West Coast rock lobster, commonly known as “kreef”, as stocks have fallen to 2% of their previous levels.

WWF-SA said its campaign to “skip the kreef” follows the government’s publication of an unchanged total allowable catch for the species in the current season, although there has been a precipitous decline in stocks because of illegal fishing and poor management of the resource.

A coalition of fishers and WWF-SA have signed an open letter to Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Senzeni Zokwana, calling for a reconsideration of the management of West Coast rock lobster, in everyone’s interests.

This species not only provides a livelihood for coastal communities but also plays a key role in marine ecosystems.

The coalition said the delicacy could disappear from menus altogether within five years unless radical action is taken.

WWF-SA regularly updates its Southern African Sustainable Seafood Initiative (Sassi) list of fish which are “green” (best choice to eat), “orange” (think twice) and “red” (don’t buy) to make consumers aware of endangered species.

Kreef is now on the red list.

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