Seafood Cornwall, first formed in 2004, has been brought back to life to promote and celebrate the incredible contribution of fish, fishing, seafood and coastal communities to Cornish life.
‘Cornish life has always been shaped and defined by the sea. From fishermen to surfers and fish buyers to diners at fish restaurants we’re all lucky to live in the most beautiful part of the UK, with the very best marine environment on our doorstep and with it, some of the most incredible seafood in the world,‘ said Paul Trebilcock, Chief Executive of Cornwall’s Fish Producers Organisation (CFPO). He leads a team spearheading a new initiative – Seafood Cornwall.
Seafood Cornwall is designed to celebrate the peninsula’s incredible seafood as well as the hard work, dedication, creativity and community spirit of everyone in Cornwall connected to the fishing industry – which, Paul Trebilcock suggests, is just about everyone.
‘The fishing industry has been at the very heart of Cornish life for as long as anyone can remember. I live and breathe it not just for my job but as a proud Cornishman with family roots going back generations in fishing. Locals and residents in across all of Cornwall – and the tourists who flock here – want to see and experience the diverse local fishing fleet, incredible top quality seafood, beautiful working harbours and coves, amazing fish and chips, and all see a vibrant fishing industry central to what makes Cornwall unique for those who live here and the hundreds of thousands that visit every year.’
The initiative, which reinvigorates a programme of work first set up in 2004, launches this November and has an ambitious range of projects ahead – some of which are already underway.
Katrina Ryan of Mindfully Wired Communications explains why Seafood Cornwall is much more than a marketing initiative.
‘Cornish fish and seafood already has an outstanding reputation. What we want to do with Seafood Cornwall is connect as many people as possible to the story behind that seafood supper – the fishermen who caught it, the range of boats working off the Cornish coast, the processors and restaurants who depend on sustainable seafood for their businesses, and the families who have salt water in their veins,’ she said, adding that Seafood Cornwall is also keen to build up people’s confidence with seafood, and with trying new things.
‘We have stacks of brilliant recipes coming up – no reading required. We’re filming them live and will be posting them online to build a community of new seafood fanatics.’
Uniquely, the visuals, story-telling, recipe-gathering and striking web presence of the initiative is being backed up by on-the-ground engagement to foster even stronger communities around local catch in Cornwall. This was vital to the CFPO’s goals in leading the project.
‘We want Seafood Cornwall to be an extension of our work – building a strong, sustainable future for Cornwall’s diverse fishing industry,’ said Paul Trebilcock.
This work will be visible around the coast from Spring 2020, and community engagement lead Chris Ranford is excited to showcase some creative ideas for connecting locals and tourists to the seafood trade.
‘Through delivering a series of Spring and Summer events Seafood Cornwall will be creating a space that will invite people to engage directly with fishermen, to share their catch stories, knowledge and culture. Developing this initiative aims to build consumer awareness on the variety of species caught and landed in our waters throughout the year and to be more daring and try something they may have not even known about before,’ he said.
Seafood Cornwall is looking to the future of the industry in new ways. A much-vaunted Youth Board launched earlier in 2019 and will be steering the initiative’s engagement with young people. It is the first of its kind for the fishing industry in the UK, and the full Seafood Cornwall team are required to hold all youth communications and engagement ideas accountable to the Board before implementation.
‘I am part of the Youth Board because I think it’s important to make youngsters aware of the opportunities within the industry,’ said Youth Board member Aidan McClary, aged 19.
‘I think having a new generation will allow the industry to flourish again.’
Different elements of the project will launch and evolve across 2020, all looking to the horizon and working towards a strong, sustainable future for Cornish fishing.