The start of 2021 has proved an exciting time for the Company’s Discover Seafood project, working to promote the consumption of locally caught seafood at a critical time for the UK’s fishing industry, launching a new UK coastal relay and working collaboratively to connect the public with seasonal British seafood. Here, Sophie Fontes, who, as part of an internship with Mindfully Wired Communications, sponsored by our targeted academic sponsorship programme, has been supporting the programme over the last few months, provides an update on its progress and how the internship has developed her knowledge of the UK seafood sector and developed her career opportunities.
Well, three months is already up and a part of me feels like I’ve only just submitted my welcome blog! But if I think back to where I was when I began at Discover Seafood and where I am now, I realise how much we have fitted into a mere three months and how far I have come in regards to my knowledge and understanding of the UK fishing industry.
With the invaluable support and advice from Harriet and Elspeth at Mindfully Wired, and Gavin at The Fishmongers’ Company, I have dived right into the world of Discover Seafood; writing blogs, managing social media, creating graphics, making videos, editing websites, researching ports and so much more.
Before beginning the programme, I considered my knowledge of UK fishing to be quite limited and was eager to learn more. I have been blown away by what I have seen and read, especially by the vast array of seafood we have right here on our doorstep and by the people who work within the industry; their histories, stories and passion for sustainable seafood. In three months, we have seen many more seafood retailers sign up to the map, enabling us to connect customers with local fish suppliers, allowing us to play a small part in supporting independent businesses during what has been a challenging time. I have also found myself frequently using the site for recipe inspiration and to check which species are in season every month, as well as constantly recommending it to family and friends who have been interested to hear where they too can find fresh UK fish.
It has been especially exciting to be part of the project whilst the topic of eating more UK seafood has been so prevalent in the media, with the Prime Minister calling for a campaign to encourage people to eat more fish and the CFPO tackling the public’s perceptions of under-loved UK species. One of my hopes at the start of the internship was to learn more about creative communication strategy which can instigate positive change, so what a perfect case study Discover Seafood has been in the effectiveness of good communications. Through our social media presence, celebrating fishermen’s stories, sharing recipes and (most recently) launching the UK seafood relay, we aimed to harness the increased public interest in UK fish and effectively use the Discover Seafood platform to educate, inspire and incite change.
Being a part of the project has sparked multiple conversations with friends and family and it’s been encouraging to find so many people eager to try more UK seafood, but don’t always know where to start. I have found Discover Seafood to be an absolutely vital educational project and the website an incredibly useful tool for people to use. It’s been a pleasure to be a part of the Discover Seafood team and I’m very grateful to Gavin and The Fishmongers’ Fisheries Charitable Trust for the opportunity.
Although my internship with the Fishmonger’s has come to an end, I am thrilled that Mindfully Wired is taking me on for longer to work on their diverse range of projects. One of these is the Discover Seafood UK Relay, which I am especially excited to be working on over the next few months. This is the next step for Discover Seafood, bringing together a diverse range of coastal explorers who are keen to discover local seafood and share stories from the fascinating fishing communities all over the UK. We’ve already had many people signing up to take part in the project and our aim is to have an explorer in every port! If you’d like to become a relay explorer or you’re simply interested in reading more about the project, you can head to it’s homepage here.