Fish and shellfish can be great for broadening your culinary horizons and connecting with our seas, but like most produce there are more and less responsible ways to enjoy them. Many factors determine how our fisheries affect wildlife - certain kinds of fishing gear, for example can damage important habitats and harm species other than those being fished for.
Making the right choices around seafood can greatly reduce the environmental impact involved, but unfortunately demand for local species is low in the UK and around 80% of what we eat is brought in from elsewhere. The foreign markets we import from, meanwhile, may place less emphasis on sustainability. All of this gives suppliers in our region fewer opportunities to support low-impact fishing.
To help tackle this we're partnering with Hampshire Fare on a new scheme: Great Solent Seafood. The scheme forms part of our project Secrets of the Solent, which is raising awareness about marine issues with support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund. This aspect of the project will see us champion local seafood from wave to plate, working with suppliers to reduce the environmental impact.
We got off to a flying start at the recent Local Produce Show in Southampton, where we joined our partner Hampshire Fare to officially launch our collaboration. We had some fantastic conversations with local suppliers, and Tim Ferrero (Project Manager for Secrets of the Solent) spoke about sustainability for our seas as part of an enlightening panel discussion.