It has been nine months since I started out on this project, now called swfish.co.uk. Back in January, with uncertainty looming over my own job, faced with the real possibility of moving to Bristol or London for work. I made a decision and applied for a research grant through UnLtd and Formation Zone at Plymouth University to train as a commercial fisherman. What followed were two further research grants, another from Unltd and one through ICCI 360 to develop a couple of ideas around promotion and traceability of locally caught fish.
It's taken me through training to work at sea with Seafood Cornwall Training, starting on the path towards becoming a member of Handline Fishermen's Association. I've met some of the most inspiring and truly dedicated people I now know, all of whom are doing an amazing job catching, preparing, selling and promoting regional seafood!
Over the months I've explored my own family past in farming and fishing. It's been fascinating to find that one grandfather used to supply local fish around Plymouth, whilst the other refurbished fishing boats in Brixton and supplied a local chippy with fish caught by himself and his friends – a local fishing cooperative.
Not only that, the support from the industry, friends, family and the rest of the community has been incredible. There's such an overwhelming amount of support for our rural industries, it's untrue.
We don't actually realise how important fishing is to the southwest, until we actually see it in action. A large number of people rely on the sea for their employment, providing jobs for so many in our local economies. Not just fishing, but many other industries as well. This is why it is incredibly important to encourage an economically prosperous, environmentally sustainable fishing industry.
So together with friends, family, members of the fishing community and experts from across broadcast, manufacturing and design industries, we've set up SWFish. This is a little video of our first little sustainable market stall at Crocadon Farm in St Mellion, where all proceeds went to the Fishermen's Mission.
The next event that we shall be attending is in only a couple of weeks - come and see us at Plymouth Seafood Festival from the 20th - 22nd September at the Mayflower Steps, where we'll be launching our next little initiative to get seafood straight to your door! We'd simply love it if you could join us, but until then pop the kettle on, make a cup of tea, sit back and take a moment to hear our story!
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