Seafish, the public body supporting the £10 billion UK seafood industry, is working on a range of initiatives to support the industry in the wake of coronavirus.
The public body has recently released guides and materials to help fishermen with quayside sales and is contributing to a nationwide marketing campaign to encourage consumers to eat more of the fish and shellfish that are caught around the UK.
The drop in exports, the adoption of social distancing and closure of foodservice businesses have significantly impacted on the seafood supply chain, meaning that many fishermen are looking to find new ways to sell their catch.
The new quayside sales and mobile fishmonger guides and promotional materials released by Seafish are designed to help fishermen and fish van operators to sell directly to consumers where businesses have lost their usual routes to market.
“There’s no doubt that coronavirus is having a major impact on seafood supply chains and Seafish is working to support seafood businesses through these challenging times to help keep the fabric of the UK seafood supply chain intact,” said Aoife Martin, Director of Operations at Seafish.
“Fishermen can sell certain types of seafood directly to consumers for personal consumption, so we’ve produced simple guides to help them understand the requirements for quayside sales in England and Scotland. Our guide for mobile fishmongers or fish vans outlines what they must do to meet the requirements that apply to food businesses, as well as providing information on additional food hygiene measures related to COVID-19.
“We’ve also shared posters and social media graphics to help these businesses encourage consumers to buy locally caught seafood and let customers know when they have fresh seafood to sell. We hope that these materials will be useful for those who are looking to move into direct selling while their traditional routes to market are unavailable.”
As well as working to support seafood supply chains, Seafish is also directly encouraging consumers to eat more UK caught fish and shellfish by working with Defra on a new marketing campaign.
“Promoting fish and shellfish from UK waters is even more important as we face the unparalleled situation with coronavirus, which is causing challenges for the seafood industry and for consumers with food shopping becoming more difficult than normal,” said Hazel Curtis, Corporate Relations Director at Seafish.
“The campaign won’t solve all of the problems the seafood industry is facing, but we hope to help the seafood sector by encouraging consumers directly and by helping the sector to support and encourage consumers, by offering guidance on buying, cooking and eating species that they might not be confident about preparing.”