By Louisa Michel
Catchbox is the UK’s first ever fish-box scheme which launches next Wednesday.
Starting out in Brighton and in Chichester, the Catchbox Cooperative known as a “Community Supported Fishery”, aims to bring a variety of high quality local seafood to the people of the South Coast.
Fish Cooperatives like this provide a positive alternative to overfished seafood offered in our supermarkets and have already proved popular in Northern America.
Monty Halls, Marine Biologist and presenter of the BBC TV series The Fishermen’s Apprentice says: “Community Supported Fisheries such as Catchbox give fishermen a face in modern society.”
Similar to a veg box, members pay a subscription at the beginning of the fishing season and over 12 weeks will receive a share of the catch straight from your local fisherman.
You choose whether you want whole fish or fillets, on a weekly or fortnightly basis, and can cater for two or larger family-sized boxes.
What can you expect? Everything from fashionable fish – the top five of which, according to Sainsbury’s are tuna, salmon, cod, haddock and prawns – and perhaps more excitingly, some adventurous options too.
Since inshore fishermen tend to fish on the same patch of sea, they target different fish according to the seasons. This means that the box will also include less well-known fish such as flatfish, roundfish, shellfish and lots of recipe and preparations ideas to go with them.
The not-for-profit Catchbox Co-op guarantees that whatever you receive, whether you know its name or not: “…will be fresh, local, responsibly sourced and utterly delicious.”
According to the Catchbox Co-op fishermen are: “the stewards of our coastal waters”, explaining: “it’s in their interest to make sure local fish stocks are healthy and stay that way.”
Community Supported Fisheries like this supports small-scale fisherman to work responsibly by using sustainable and low-impact methods such as: pots, nets with large meshes and line and hook fishing.
It’s a campaign that empowers local fisherman by ensuring they get a fair price for their catch, and adds a sense value to their hard and often unsociable work.
Plus by encouraging us to diversifying our fishy tastes, we too can do our bit for environment by enjoying a regular supply of the finest of whatever the south coast have to offer.