Provenance and Traceability
High Quality Dorset Seafood
Dorset Wildlife Trust (DWT) sees “good” seafood as undervalued in Dorset, with some consumers being unaware on what constitutes “good” seafood and where to source it. Seafood can often be inadequately labelled or too confusing for consumers to understand.
DWT considers “good” seafood to be fresh and locally caught, using low impact capture methods which are sensitive to the environment. These fishing methods, such as diver-picked, rod and line, pot or trap caught are generally more selective and provide higher quality seafood.
Sourcing Seafood Legally
DWT want to ensure that seafood is being promoted correctly and positively in supporting outlets, through direct sourcing by registered and licensed commercial fishermen working in Dorset. It is paramount that the supply chain is provided allowing for traceability and provenance.
Evidence of transactions and registrations will be required in order to not only improve the management of the local fisheries but to help with their conservation. Under The Registration of Fish Buyers and Sellers and Designation of Fish Auction Sites Regulations 2005 (England), all buyers of first sale fish (and shellfish) from fishing vessels must be registered with the Marine Management Organisation. This legislation also applies to sellers of first sale fish (and shellfish) at auction. Registration is free but it is a legal obligation and anyone buying fish direct from a fishing vessel may be committing an offence if they are not fully registered as a “buyer”. As a registered buyer, outlets will be issued with a certificate, listed on the MMO’s Fish Register and required to record all seafood transactions. More information can be found within the MMO registered buyers and sellers website.
Adequate Labelling of Seafood
Outlets promoting local and low impact seafood should label their products correctly. Seafood is frequently labelled as “local”, which has a number of interpretations. “Local” seafood could mean landed in the nearby port or landed anywhere in the south coast or even West Country, increasing food miles and ultimately reducing its quality. DWT believes that local seafood should mean caught and landed in Dorset. Not just sourced from a Dorset-based fish merchant.
Seafood mislabelled as “Dorset caught” can be spotted as an obvious mistake when the species in question is not in season or there is a fishing ban. It must be noted that mislabelling of seafood can result in an investigation by Trading Standards.
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