Great Solent Seafood Campaign Launches

Great Solent Seafood Campaign Launches

Hampshire Fare are joining forces with Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust to deliver the Great Solent Seafood campaign.

The intention of the Great Solent Seafood campaign is to champion local sustainable seafood from wave to plate. Working together, Hampshire Fare and the Wildlife Trust aim to support those involved in catching, selling and serving seafood, as well as encouraging consumers to buy and eat local seafood in a more sustainable way.

Great Solent Seafood is part of the Wildlife Trust’s Secrets of the Solent project. Supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, this is a four-year project bringing a hidden underwater world to life on land, with the purpose of safeguarding its future through art, cuisine, citizen science and volunteering opportunities etc.

Tracy Nash, Commercial Manager, Hampshire Fare, says: “We are very excited to be involved with such an important campaign which we believe will make a substantial difference about how chefs and consumers choose their seafood, and could reshape their understanding of this market.

“As the county’s food and drink group we have for a long time supported a more environmentally friendly approach to sourcing local produce. However, many of us are still uncertain what sustainability looks like when it comes to seafood. We often don’t know the types of seafood caught locally, which are sustainable, and the best time during the year to eat them.

“This campaign aims to be a celebration of our local seafood. It will help people reconnect with our coast and local waters. It will also enable people to make more informed choices, broaden their culinary preferences, and help them discover this healthy, delicious and versatile local produce and enjoy it in a more sustainable way.”

Tim Ferrero, Secrets of the Solent Project Manager with the Wildlife Trust, explains: “Sustainability in seafood is a complex subject. Stocks of target species can be put under immense pressure if they aren't understood and managed properly and different fishing methods can have a range of impacts on the marine environment. Some kinds of gear can damage important habitats and harm species other than those being fished for, while others can have less impact and be more selective for the target species.

“Demand for local species is low here and this means that suppliers in our region have fewer opportunities to support low‐impact fishing. In fact, much of the seafood we catch in the UK is sent overseas while around 80% of what we eat is imported and the foreign markets we import from may place less emphasis on sustainability. These problems need to be addressed and we are confident that we can gain the support of retailers, hospitality and consumers to choose sustainable seafood and discover more about what is caught locally.”

Tim continues: “We are asking businesses to join the Campaign. We want to work with all those who are part of the local seafood chain, whether involved in catching, selling or serving local seafood. We plan to help businesses set attainable goals, support them in achieving these goals, and promote their efforts as a participating supplier.”

Tracy adds: “Consumers can get involved by checking which species are being recommended as more sustainable options. We will also be collaborating with chefs across the area, coming up with delicious Solent seafood dishes, and putting them on the menu, on demos and online as inspiring recipes for all of us to try.”

Local Hospitality were made aware of the Campaign when it was launched at the recent Local Produce Show. Tim Ferrero, who was on the Show’s panel, addressed the crowd, announcing the Great Solent Seafood campaign and encouraging businesses to understand the importance of committing to buying, cooking and serving local sustainable seafood.