The UK’s fishing industry is facing colossal challenges. Three-quarters of seafood caught by the UK’s fishing fleet is exported and most of the seafood we eat is imported. With fish markets and the restaurant trade now closed across the country and overseas due to COVID-19, it is vital that we help fishers find local markets, so that they can keep working and to ensure that the British public maintains a vital fresh food supply.
To support the seafood supply chain in the face of widespread COVID-19 disruption, the Fishmongers’ Company have introduced two, exciting, rapid response initiatives.
The Fishmongers’ Company’s Fisheries Charitable Trust and Seafarers UK, with a group of trusted partners, have developed a £500,000 COVID-19 Rapid Response Grant Programme (RRGP).
The Rapid Response fund seeks to assist fishing and seafood businesses and food charities:
Recognising the need for cooperation among fish merchants, fishers and buyers, we will prioritise initiatives that demonstrate collaborative working among stakeholders
Fish on Friday aims to reconnect the British public with their local fisheries and their coastal communities. Newly launched is an interactive map, which connects you with your local seafood merchant, allowing you to purchase fresh seafood and even get it delivered direct to your door. There is also a range of recipes utilising British species, as well as a series of ‘how to guides’ on purchasing whole fish and shellfish from your local fishmonger.
Choosing to eat local seafood helps to build resilience in coastal communities and supports the livelihoods of fishers and the many people who work across the supply chain, not just during these challenging times, but in the long term.