Thursday, 1 October 2020

"Love Seafood" - a message from the Gatekeepers of the Sea.

Seafish launched their new 'Love Seafood" campaign today with a brand new website aimed at increasing the consumption of seafood by more people in the UK by focussing on what it takes to harvest fish from the sea, the health and nutritional benefits of a diet that includes fish on a regular basis and the growing environmental awareness of sustainability.

Fishermen and the fishing community are seen as gatekeepers to the sea under the banner heading, 'Laying waste to the stereotype'.

"What better way to get a realistic insight into the lives of our UK fishermen, than to follow them on their day-to-day business?"

Fishermen: Gatekeepers of the Sea 

We got a fascinating first-hand look into exactly what it involves. Where this age old tradition has come from and where it’s charting a course for in years to come.

The image of a fishing boat, carrying Skipper Davey and his team, cutting through the dark waters of Scotland’s east coast is a powerful one. The environment around these fishermen is vastly different from the picture we might have of a normal 9-to-5.

Huge expanses of water, a ‘commute’ that takes place well before dawn, the unpredictable nature of the elements, the tough physical work that takes place on deck. It’s a stark contrast, especially when you compare those freezing cold seas and the cosy kitchen tables that much loved produce such as Shetland mussels, Cornish crab or Arbroath smokies end up on.

For Davey and the many other fishermen out there working hard to keep their industry thriving, it’s not just about what goes on out on the open seas. It’s very much connected to life on land too.

More than a job

Our ‘Gatekeepers’ film offers a portrait of an industry that not only provides jobs and income, but one that’s an age-old generational tradition. Just like Davey, many fishermen begin their careers at a young age – often experiencing their first voyage out to sea with their parents.

‘There’s always been a family connection with the sea around me,’ Davey confirms. After leaving school he immediately began following in his father’s footsteps by taking to the waves as a fisherman, a choice that he’s proud to have stuck by for forty years now.

It’s perhaps this close, life-long connection with the environment that inspires such a deep respect for it. Taking the good with the bad is all part of the big picture in this line of work.

It’s an especially emotional connection for Davey, as he recounts how changeable weather conditions have cost lives, not only fellow fishermen but family members too. That said he also gets the pleasure of working with his son and watching as he climbs the ranks. It’s clear that with a common choice of vocation the two are able to enjoy a closeness that few familys get to experience. Just like the waves that they work on, there’s peaks and troughs.

Sustainable futures

From this profound respect for the ocean comes a dedication to sustainable fishing practices. That’s something that not only goes for Davey and his crew, but the UK’s fishing industry as a whole. As our film explores, there’s two main reasons that drive this principle; environmental welfare and community welfare.

Businesses like Davey’s don’t just have their own profits in mind when casting off for a day’s work. As with Peterhead and Fraserburgh, many other communities around the UK depend on the health of the seas. For Davey and his crew a healthy ocean has a big knock on effect. The work that’s done on the boats is largely a starting point for other goods and services; everything from carpenters to welders, boat builders to chip shops.

Fishing is the lifeblood of these towns. We only really need to look back to the early 2000’s to see what low fish stock can do to the sector, and in turn the community that relies on it. Decommissioned boats, a loss of jobs and a general downturn in business dealt a serious blow to the local area. But not a fatal one.

Since then, a number of changes have been put in place and things have really bounced back. Today there’s actually more fish in the Northern Hemisphere (especially around Shetland and the shelf edge). Davey, a man at the coalface of the situation, confirms and points to sustainable practices as the key to this recovery. ‘If the fishing’s doing good, the towns always do good,’ he says.

The long days, early starts, the family ties, highs and lows… all factor into that innate responsibility that fishermen like Davey have towards protecting their environment.

As Davey reminds us, ‘We’re the gatekeepers basically.’

Sign up to our newsletter to be among the first people to ever see – Fishermen: Gatekeepers of the Sea.

Love Seafood is brought to you by Seafish, and we’re here to inspire you to enjoy a more balanced lifestyle by eating more seafood. We are a community, made up of seafood champions from all areas of the industry and powered by you, the people.

At Love Seafood we believe that seafood is a pretty ‘super’ food:

  • It’s super tasty: seafood comes in a wide variety of flavours and textures. Making it the perfect addition to countless delicious dishes. 
  •  It’s super healthy: seafood is low in fat and high in protein and Omega 3. Therefore eating seafood regularly supports a healthy, balanced lifestyle.  
  • It’s super easy: seafood is a simple option for breakfast, brunch, lunch, snack and dinner whether it is fresh, frozen or tinned. 

By eating more seafood, life can be filled with variety, choice and balance, resulting in a healthier, happier nation. Sounds pretty good right? We believe that small changes can make a huge difference. So we want to give you tips, tricks and loads of recipes and resources, to help you start today.

It’s time to Love Seafood!