As part of the SWEEP marine group of projects, Océane Marcone of Plymouth Marine Laboratory has investigated the benefits of local seafood labelling schemes for fishers. The research was conducted in collaboration with the Cornwall Wildlife Trust who wanted to assess the impact of their scheme, the Cornwall Good Seafood Guide (CGSG). The report, ‘Chasing price premium: On the economic and wider benefits of a local eco-labelling scheme for seafood’ provides key recommendations on how the scheme could be improved to increase the benefits and relevance for fishers in Cornwall and to ensure that the scheme continues to grow and deliver its key aim; “To provide clear and accurate information to help consumers and businesses make environmentally informed decisions when purchasing Cornish seafood”. Read the Report Summary here (1 page).
The study involved an extensive consumer survey, to understand the attitudes towards labelling schemes amongst the public, and in-depth interviews with fishers to understand the impacts of local eco-labelling schemes on their business.
A draft version of the report was provided to Cornwall Wildlife Trust in January 2021. As of November 2021, the Trust have already implemented many of the recommendations in several interesting and informative ways, including appointing a member of staff as a Marine Business Advisor to work more closely with fishers in the Mevagissey and the Fal area; increasing promotion of the CGSG, including through social media; and targeting more primary buyers and food businesses to join the scheme. In addition, there are plans to update the way fishers sign up to the scheme to instil a more formal framework and increase the visibility of CGSG labelled catch by implementing stamp/ stickers that fishers can use to label their boxes.
“Getting the fisher’s opinions from the SWEEP report was really helpful, especially as they could be completely honest with Oceane as an independent academic. I don’t think we would have had the same response if we’d conducted it ourselves. The recommendation for needing more one-on-one work with them, or more involvement with the fishing industry themselves, has been crucial in helping to lever funds down to get Abby in post to take this work forward.”
“The report was invaluable in helping us get the project accepted as a core piece of work within the Trust, which enabled us to go down that specific route of employing someone to take on this one-on-one advisory role. We’re focusing on one area for now, as a kind of trial, but hopefully will roll out to a wider area over time.”
“In the long term we want to see fishers trusting us and working with us to improve the sustainability of their activities. We strive to ensure the legacy of this work will ultimately be a more sustainable marine environment. We’ve got the evidence to back up management decisions and voluntary changes in their practices, which will result in more sustainable use of the resource and the ecosystem as a whole.” Cornwall Wildlife Trust
Océane’s report also informed the Rose Regeneration review of the CGSG commissioned by the Fishmonger’s Company in 2019.
“Océane’s consumer data was really useful, it gave us a perspective on the level of impact of the CGSG in terms of influencing consumer behaviour. It enabled us to come up with some recommendations that they think in a more proactive way about the quality of their publication and the way their publication seeks to interact with the public and how further downstream it affects people’s behaviours, which of course is what they’re really principally meant to be about”.
Ivan Annibal, Rose Regeneration