Conservation and fishery management project pays off
Fishermen in the UK ports of Lyme Bay on the Dorset and Devon border are making a better living from their fish by practising conservation, thanks to a new scheme launched by the charity, Blue Marine Foundation (BLUE).
In the culmination of a three-year project within a 90 square mile protected area, fishermen have begun to sell their wares under the Reserve Seafood brand to top London restaurants which pay higher prices for fully traceable fish. Their catch commands a higher price because chefs are placing a high value on the “boat-to-plate” provenance.
The project, a collaboration between the fishermen of the four Lyme Bay ports and the Blue Marine Foundation (BLUE), has installed chiller rooms, ice-makers and freezer units in return for fishermen signing up to a strict conservation code and electronic monitoring.
BLUE’s partners, leading fish merchants Direct Seafoods, collect the day’s catch of fish and shellfish from Lyme Bay ports in the late afternoon, transport it to their London base and by early the following morning, chefs at London’s top restaurants are preparing Reserve Seafood fish for their customers.
Laky Zervudachi, sustainability director at Direct Seafoods, said: “Our chef customers love the fact that they can promote the freshness and quality of the fish they are serving and tell their diners exactly how and where it was caught. Sustainability is a key ingredient.”
Charles Clover, chairman of Blue Marine Foundation, believes Reserve Seafood is here to stay: “It’s real evidence that fishing and conservation can work together. BLUE is a marine conservation charity with a global reach, working with governments to protect vast areas of ocean from overfishing. In the UK we are hands on, and we have been working to create win-win outcomes like this”.
Picture credit: Lyme Bay Scallops, Katrina Borrow