Leading Journal of the Irish & UK Fishing Industries

The unprecedented situation caused by COVID-19 is having a major impact on seafood businesses throughout the UK so Seafish is working on a range of initiatives to support the industry. As part of this Seafish 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.

Aoife Martin, Director of Operations at Seafish said: “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.”

“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. #SeaForYourself launched in March 2020 and is scheduled to run until May. Key messages of the campaign are encouraging people to try something new and inspiring them to cook seafood caught in UK waters.

To complement this Seafish is sharing content on its consumer marketing platform Fish is the Dish. This includes letting consumers know where they can purchase seafood and sharing recipes and tips to help them prepare it.

Hazel Curtis, Corporate Relations Director at Seafish said: “Encouraging UK consumers to eat more seafood more often is the core of Seafish’s consumer marketing work. 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.

“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.”

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