A time to eat local and support Cornish fishermen

Amid the chaos created by the coronavirus pandemic, Cornwall Wildlife Trust is encouraging the public to remember their local fishermen and to buy local sustainable seafood.

Update! Fresh Cornish fish delivery to your door during the Coronavirus lockdown. See the list of delivery contacts here

This week export markets to the continent have dried up completely, and at the same time, the restaurant trade has been hit by government advice to control the spread of the virus. As a result, local fishermen have seen markets for seafood crash with many prices down to a tenth their usual rate.

At a time where supermarkets are being stripped by panic buyers and food is often in short supply, we should be supporting local food producers, particularly our local fishermen. The Trust urges people to visit the Cornwall Good Seafood Guide website for a comprehensive list of seafood suppliers and to watch their social media for news on how to source local seafood.

It is hoped that we can help our fishermen and seafood businesses to continue to operate through this crisis. Seafood is good for you; it is low carbon and local. With many of us confined to our homes it is a great time to change our eating habits and to give it a try.  

Cornwall Wildlife Trust’s Matt Slater says,

“This is crunch time for many of our fishermen and it is crazy that this valuable source of marine protein is not better appreciated locally. Our website helps you find local suppliers and provides practical instruction to help you enjoy local seafood. We really hope that local markets can be improved to benefit struggling fishermen and seafood businesses during this unprecedented, challenging time.”

Following an incredibly tough winter with constant storms battering our coastline many fishermen are now faced with no market for their catch.

Several Newquay fishermen have turned to social media this week as the main buyer of their catch has closed its doors blaming a collapse in export markets. Fishermen, Danny Gilbert and his brother Jake both operate potting boats from the port. They need to sell their pot caught brown crabs and lobsters, to cover their considerable costs, overheads and crewmen’s wages. Without support from local people, they will have to shut down their boats and lay off their crew. There are many more fishers all around the county in the same situation and we hope to help put fishermen like Danny and Jake in touch with local customers.

Cornwall Good Seafood Guide also highlights the network of local fishmongers and fish sellers in Cornwall who offer delivery services. As supermarkets are struggling, ordering a fish delivery is a great way to stock up and to help local fishers and seafood businesses.

Many of the fantastic seafood restaurants in Cornwall who support the Good Seafood Guide are also struggling with fewer people eating out and many people are fearful for their jobs. Some have decided to close their doors completely while others are offering home delivery services and coronavirus safe dining. Businesses of this kind work on very tight economic margins but are essential to the survival of our fishing industry and local communities so please support them where you can.

We will be providing news from fishermen, fish sellers and restaurants on the Cornwall Good Seafood Guide Facebook page, Twitter account, and Instagram profile, as well as news articles on the Cornwall Good Seafood Guide website over the coming days and weeks.

The Cornwall Good Seafood Guide has been produced by Cornwall Wildlife Trust in partnership with the Cornish fishing industry. It is packed with information on fish and fishing methods to help consumers see what's currently in-season and most sustainable to eat. The guide also features how-to guides that show you how to cook and prepare tasty seafood recipes, a directory of where to purchase great local seafood, and a series of ‘meet the fishermen’ videos. The Cornwall Good Seafood Guide can be found online at www.cornwallgoodseafoodguide.org.uk