Support builds for Coastal Fish campaign
In its first three months, Direct Seafoods’ Coastal Fish campaign has lured 1,358 chefs and 136 UK fishing vessels to sign up.
Launched in September, the Coastal Fish program supports local fishermen by creating a viable domestic market for all species caught by the country’s coastal fleet, including bycatch.
The program also actively encourages restaurants and caterers to allow for increased flexibility in their menu planning. By getting chefs to focus on a variety of species, consumers will follow, according to Direct Seafoods.
“This campaign is doing good things for the industry. At the moment we, as a nation, are wasting tons of nutrient-rich, healthy fish every day. But that is wrong. It needs to be put into schools, colleges, hospitals, etc. and used in the right the way throughout the entire supply chain,” said Simon Hulstone, head chef at The Elephant Restaurant. “People need to try these fish and see that they are quality ingredients so we serve them simply and don’t hide any flavors with overpowering sauces. We need to get customers to try something that they haven’t been before. So rather than cod, brill [and] sea bass, they choose coley, pollock and hake.”
“We believe Coastal Fish is a market-changing sustainability program. As well as providing much greater financial security to UK fishermen by immediately increasing the value of bycatch and therefore reducing the likelihood that it will be discarded, it’s designed to challenge restaurant goers to try lesser-known, currently under-valued local fish,” said Direct Seafood CEO Stephen Oswald. “In becoming part of the Coastal Fish campaign, restaurants and caterers can be confident that the sourcing decisions they are taking are both ethical and based on sound scientific advice.
“It is a fact that UK consumer tastes are changing; people are now much more receptive to trying new species. It’s also true that consumers also want to eat conscience-free seafood and will actively seek out restaurants that can offer such an experience,” he added.