Good for fish - good for business

Falmouth’s favourite chippy, the Harbour Lights, is benefiting from a fantastic new online resource by Cornwall Wildlife Trust. The ‘Cornwall Good Seafood Guide’ highlights the wealth of sustainable seafood landed by our local Cornish fishing industry.
Good for fish - good for business

Photo by Matt Jessop

eter Fraser, owner of Harbour Lights knows the true value of embracing sustainability having seen his business flourish since he chose to only sell responsibly sourced seafood, 

“I wanted to make sure that my customers could be confident that anything they ordered would be sustainably harvested, I didn’t want to be selling the last fish in the sea! Sustainable fisheries are essential for the future of my business and I didn’t think we should ignore the fact that there are issues with some fisheries. In 2005 I took the, at the time, novel move to ensure that all the fish we sell was sustainable. Many thought it was a crazy idea but my business has thrived”.

One frustration for Peter was that until now it has been very difficult to find accurate information on the sustainability of local seafood caught by Cornish fishermen. In Cornwall only ring net caught sardines and net caught hake are certified by the Marine Stewardship Council, but over sixty species are landed and the industry has, until now, had no way of proving its sustainability.

Peter Fraser continues, 

“I was very excited to have been involved with the Trust’s Cornwall Good Seafood Guide since its inception as finally it has looked in detail at the wealth of fish landed to Cornish ports by Cornish boats and scores them all fairly on their sustainability”.

Cornish favourites such as line caught mackerel, pot caught crab, farmed mussels and Cornish megrim are amongst the many species listed as recommended. For a full list you can visit the website www.cornwallgoodseafoodguide.org.uk
All businesses who become supporters of this worthwhile project can use a fabulous logo to highlight the sustainable seafood on offer to their customers, on packaging, menus, fish counters and websites.

Pete Fraser goes on to say;

“I am very pleased to have been involved and I urge other fish and chip shop owners, restaurateurs and fish sellers to get on board and support Cornwall Good Seafood Guide. What has been created is a valuable eco-brand for Cornwall and for the benefit of its fishing industry. It is hoped that with time the guide will achieve a huge recognition amongst locals and visitors to Cornwall and we think it is a great incentive to the industry to continue to improve its practices. In time it will be great to see all of Cornwall’s fishing industry classed as sustainable”.

On the 1st February Peter will be attending an international conference in Malta called the SeaWeb Seafood Conference where he will be representing the10, 500 UK fish and chip shops. He will be giving a presentation on the methods he uses to source sustainable seafood and he intends to give the work of Cornwall Good Seafood Guide a big plug. 

“It might be a local scheme but it fully deserves international recognition.”

Pete Fraser, Harbour Lighs

The Trust carried out market research where over 1,000 people were questioned about their seafood buying habits. Results showed that consumers want sustainable seafood, 84% of those questioned said they would prefer to buy seafood which has been caught with minimal damage to the environment and 97.2% of those questioned said that they would be more likely to buy seafood labelled as ‘recommended’ by Cornwall Good Seafood Guide.

Local businesses across Cornwall are now being encouraged to become supporters of the project as a way of highlighting the great local seafood they sell, at the same time as educating the public on the best choices to go for.

Matt Slater from Cornwall Wildlife Trust says,

“To date we have 40 businesses signed up as supporters of Cornwall Good Seafood Guide. It is not expensive to become a supporter and the money raised is being used to continue our worthwhile work promoting our local fishing industry. Supporters are not expected to only sell recommended seafood but are encouraged to highlight good choices and promote the project. High profile supporters include Nathan Outlaw, Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen, St Austell Brewery, Wing of St Mawes, Flying fish and the Harbour Lights. Fishmongers are using the logo on fish counters and fish merchants are able to use the logo on packaging and on their websites. To help consumers find local seafood we have created a ‘where to buy’ directory on our website which is generating a lot of web traffic. Please visit it to find out where to source fresh Cornish seafood”.

Visit Cornwall Good Seafood Guide online at www.cornwallgoodseafoodguide.org.uk