Britain’s inshore fishermen are facing desperate times as coronavirus restrictions close down export markets and the restaurant trade. Fill your fridge and give the community a boost by having #LocalFishForDinner
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Blue Marine Foundation is one of many organisations trying to help keep the food chain working for inshore fishermen around the coast; starting with its projects in Lyme Bay on the south coast, Berwickshire, North Devon and Jersey.
BLUE is helping to publicise the fact that ordinary members of the public can continue to buy top quality seafood at the quay or by ordering online from local outlets who buy their seafood from local auction markets who are suffering from lack of demand – see below.
In the process we hope they will be filling their freezers, keeping the auction markets open and providing better prices for fishermen.
The coronavirus restrictions have hit at just the time that inshore fishermen, who cannot fish in the winter because of bad weather, are putting to sea again and expecting summer sales to pay their mortgages.
The fishermen that fish in inshore waters are self-employed and many of these are dependent on shellfish, some 70 per cent of which is exported across Europe and Asia with the remainder going to the restaurant trade.
In the UK, the restaurant and food service industries are facing a major loss of sales after government advice for the general population to avoid large gatherings and unnecessary travel. Some restaurants have said they will adapt by offering a delivery service.
As these outlets shut down, the UK’s inshore fishermen struggle to sell their landings because auction markets are seeing prices a fraction of their usual levels and it is feared many will close their doors.
Urgent requests are being made to government to keep these auction markets open and for a package specifically directed at the needs of inshore fishermen.
BLUE is looking at ways of providing advice and guidance to fishermen in its projects on support schemes announced by government and industry organisations.
Seafish has produced a web page which highlights government support for the commercial fishing and seafood sectors at https://www.seafish.org/article/coronavirus-updates-for-the-seafood-industry
Charles Clover, executive director of the Blue Marine Foundation, said: “We as members of the public have an opportunity through our purchasing power to help the fishermen who fish in small boats around our shores, usually in the most sustainable of ways. They are the life and soul of communities and are vital to the management of our marine protected areas.”
BLUE will be posting details of schemes through which members of the public can buy seafood on the quayside or online.