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New project to support Welsh seafood industry

An industry-wide project that aims to propel #WelshSeafood onto the dinner plates of the nation has launched.

Launched at JAM in Cardiff Bay, the ‘Port to Plate’ project carves out a distinct identity for seafood products from Wales and supports the development of Wales’ seafood industry across the supply chain.

Funded by the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF), the project has been shaped by a Steering Group including members from within the Seafood Industry in Wales.

One of the main objectives of the project is to increase public awareness about the quality and diversity of fish and shellfish caught off the Welsh coast, and ultimately increase its share of the home market.

According to figures from Defra*, in Wales, the average person eats 145.9g of seafood per week – with 140g the average portion size. This is lower than the UK average of 152.8g per person per week.

Emphasising the link between the port where the seafood is landed and the consumer, the ‘Port to Plate’ project has been designed to not only raise awareness of the seafood industry but to increase consumer understanding of the range of #WelshSeafood available, where to buy it, and how to enjoy it at home.

The project has been developed in conjunction with the Welsh seafood industry by Menter a Busnes with the support of Seafish.

Funding for the project has come through the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund, which is funded by the European Union and the Welsh Government.

Says the project’s manager, Philip McGrath, “The Port to Plate project is a great opportunity for #WelshSeafood businesses across Wales to promote their produce and develop and grow their business further.

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“Not only does the project seek to work with businesses to develop new markets for #WelshSeafood on both a local and international level, but also to raise consumer awareness of the species available and seasonality, resulting in more people eating local seafood and increasing the local market.”

Working in tandem with the new #WelshSeafood campaign, ‘Port to Plate’ will promote the seasonal nature of the Welsh catch and the stories of those for whose lives are shaped by the industry.

According to figures from the ‘Welsh Fishermen’s Association’, in 2017 there were 315 active vessels, 756 fishermen, 89 NRW cockle licences, and 123 seafood processing employees in Wales.

Mandy Walters and her husband Len run Cardigan Bay Fish in St Dogmaels in Pembrokeshire, and they are members of the #WelshSeafood Market Development project Support Scheme’s Steering Group.

Says Mandy, “We want to promote all shellfish and fish caught off the Welsh coast and educate people about what we have in our seas. We have got the best seafood around and we want more people to buy, eat and enjoy Welsh seafood.

“I attend local produce markets, and I tell people about Welsh seafood and give them ideas on how to cook simple, tasty dishes from fresh local produce.”