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Local Fish For Dinner

Fishermen face hard times but the public can help

March 18, 2020 by Emma Eatough and Charles Clover 

Britain’s inshore fishermen are facing desperate times as demand from export markets and the restaurant trade dries up as a result of coronavirus restrictions.  

In response, Blue Marine Foundation is one of many organisations hoping to co-ordinate specific actions to help the inshore fishermen it works with around the coast, in Lyme Bay on the south coast, Berwickshire, North Devon and Jersey. 

In the short term, the public can help by boosting demand at auction markets by ordering online via sellers who deliver via courier or even buying from the quayside. 

The coronavirus restrictions have hit at just the time that inshore fishermen, who cannot fish in the winter because of bad weather, are putting to sea again expecting to pay their mortgages. 

The fishermen that fish in inshore waters are self-employed and many of these are dependent on shellfish, some 70 per cent of which is exported across Europe and Asia with the remainder going to the restaurant trade.  

Barrie Deas, chief executive of the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations told The Guardian that China has become a big market for UK crab in recent years, “Some parts of the fleet have become very dependent on that, and that was the first to go, with a very dramatic fall in demand.”  

There are also worries that other export markets, such as that of shrimps and prawns which made up 13,000 tonnes of exports from the UK in 2018, will be hit. 

In the UK, the restaurant and food service industries are facing a major loss of sales after government advice for the general population to avoid large gatherings and unnecessary travel.  Some restaurants have said they will adapt by offering a delivery service. 

As these outlets shut down, the UK’s inshore fishermen struggle to sell their shellfish landings because auction markets are seeing prices a fraction of their usual levels and it is feared many will close their doors.   

Urgent requests are being made to government to keep these auction market open and for a package specifically directed at the needs of inshore fishermen.  

Charles Clover, executive director of the Blue Marine Foundation, said: “As members of the public this is the time to find ways of supporting the fishermen who fish in small boats around our shores, usually in the most sustainable of ways.  They are the life and soul of communities and are vital to the management of our marine protected areas.” 

BLUE will be posting details of adaptive schemes which can keep up demand for this clean fresh source of protein which we can all enjoy even in difficult times.   


It is not widely known that members of the public may buy up to 25kgs per person of fish direct from fishermen on the quayside, for personal use.   

Fishermen in the Lyme Bay Fisheries and Conservation Reserve sell Reserve Seafood via Plymouth Trawler Agents and other local outlets like those listed below.  

While these markets remain operational, BLUE is continuing to support Plymouth Trawler agents and helping to deliver fish to Plymouth market three times a week. 

We are committed to pursuing other channels to be sure our Reserve Seafood label continues to be available to the public.  

In the meantime, members of the public may not know that it is possible to buy fish via local processors who all source from Plymouth, thus boosting demand and getting fishermen better prices.  

  • Beer Fisheries, Beer
    Phone 01297 20297
    Visit their Website
    Visit their Facebook page
  • Lyme Bay Fish Shack, Kilmington
    Phone 01297 552176
    Visit their Twitter
  • Just Fish, Seaton Phone 01297 24200

List of local merchants in Berwickshire still buying and selling locally caught seafood: 

  • Cas Par Cas:
    Visit their Facebook page
    Call 01289 307772
    “We have plenty stock for anyone worrying about running out of food while the supermarkets struggle to restock and have arranged a delivery option for anyone who is self isolating or struggling to get out. We can deliver, for free, around berwick, eyemouth n surrounding areas and have a contactless card reader to avoid contact
    If anyone is struggling or worried just get in touch message us on here or call us on 01289 307772.
    We are happy to help in anyway we can for the vulnerable and elderly in our community” 

  • Bisset’s Quality Seafood:
    visit their Facebook page
    Call 07930 265151
    “At present with the current corona virus issues/considerations if you would like to order fish we can arrange a drop off point around in and around your house in advance. If we know your order we can let you know the cost in advance and arrange for payment to be collected from a safe place without face to face interaction” 
  • Berwickshire Shellfish co:
    Visit their website
  • D.R. Collin & Son:
    Visit their website

You can still buy freshly landed fish and shellfish from:

  • The Fresh Fish Company, Victoria Pier, St Helier
    Visit their Facebook page
  • The Jersey Catch Visit their website
    call Josh Dearing 07829886933
    Delivering fresh seafood, caught in an environmentally sustainable way, delivered directly to your door that same day

You can source your freshly landed fish from:

  • Walrus fisheries:
    Visit their website
  • Dan the fish man (Clovelly Fish):
    Visit their website
  • Passmores
    Are now doing a van service.
    Call  07528 243333
    visit their Facebook page

We will continue to add to this list as we receive more information.

If you are a fisherman in one of these locations, or a new location, around the UK who would like to be involved in our campaign and featured on our page, please email us on