Lyme Bay fishermen launch new food brand
- Credit: Archant
Boatmen from Lyme Regis and Axmouth join new co-operative to sell their catch
A new seafood brand was officially launched in Axmouth last week to promote Lyme Bay’s sustainable fishing industry.
Fishermen in the ports of Lyme Bay on the Dorset and Devon border are now making a better living from their catch by practising conservation, thanks to a new scheme begun by the charity, Blue Marine Foundation (BLUE).
In the culmination of a three-year project within a 90 square mile protected area, fishermen have begun to sell their wares under the Reserve Seafood brand to top London restaurants which pay higher prices for fully traceable fish.
They are able to do so because chefs place a high value on the ‘boat-to-plate’ provenance, the quality and the sustainability of the seafood caught by small inshore fishing boats from West Bay, Lyme Regis, Beer and Axmouth on the Dorset and Devon coast.
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The project, a collaboration between the fishermen of the four ports and BLUE, has installed chiller rooms, ice-makers and freezer units in return for fishermen signing up to a strict conservation code and electronic monitoring.
Axmouth fisherman Gavin Zieman said: “This project has actually made Axmouth harbour. It’s made it a sustainable, viable port for the small boats that operate out of there. It makes what we’re catching and landing a lot more attractive to a much wider set of people. We’ve seen an increase of between 20 and 30 per cent. Good stable prices, which makes a big difference to us.”
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Jim Newton, chairman of Beer and East Devon Fisherman’s Association, described the project as ‘common sense’. Lyme Bay fish was now getting ‘top dollar’ and the project ‘should have been done years ago’.