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Website proves a real catch for seafood customers

An example of a line caught bass bearing a traceable tagA sustainable bass tagging scheme in operation in Cornwall, which offers line-to-plate traceability, is being extended in 2006 after increasing the first sale value of line caught bass by up to 20%.

The South West Handline Fishermen's Association last year launched a tagging system and website part funded by the South West Rural Enterprise Gateway (SWREG), delivered through the Business Link network and Seafish. The website allows customers to trace a fish, through its tag number, to the fisherman who caught it and has proved so successful it is this year being extended to include pollack line fishing.

Nathan de Rozarieux is project director of Seafood Cornwall, based in Newlyn. He said the response from local skippers and fish merchants has been terrific. "The local fishermen have been totally committed to the scheme from the start because they want to make clear the value of handline fishing. We now have around 30 skippers who are part of the scheme and fishermen from Devon are also getting involved.

"At the moment the bass is tagged, landed, and from auction goes to restaurants and shops, some of it as far away as the Far East but local demand for it is also pretty strong. Because it is a traditional, sustainable method of catching fish, customers are reassured that it's dolphin friendly and it's also much higher quality than bass caught by pair-trawlers."

Nathan is hoping to encourage the growth of more groups of fishers in the South West by becoming part of SWREG's 'knowledge network'.

Lee Richards, Business Link project officer for SWREG in Devon and Cornwall explained, "The Rural Enterprise Gateway aims to help rural businesses access information, training and business development support. The knowledge network is one aspect of that service, made up of specialists who can supply high level research and information. Groups can use the network for research requests or to receive tailored reports that meet their specific information needs. It has previously only been available to land based businesses but is now available to the fishing industry.

"With the introduction of Seafood Cornwall and Cornwall Fisheries Resource Centre to the network, we can offer even more support to a variety of businesses in Devon and Cornwall and hopefully encourage the creation of more handline tagging groups throughout the South West", Lee added.

Nathan concluded, "We're really pleased with the success of the website and want to get involved with the knowledge network to let as many people in the industry know we're here and that we can help."

"Although tagging isn't economically viable for all line fishing, we would like to see more skippers get involved with the bass and pollack schemes. We're looking into working with other groups in Jersey, Guernsey and Normandy and then we can start thinking about the possibility of supplying bass to supermarkets in the future."

For further information please contact Maxine McAdams of the Marketing-PR Company on 01566 771860 or email:

The Objective One Programme for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly has invested in the South West Rural Enterprise Gateway (SWREG) through the European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund (EAGGF). In addition the Programme has also invested in the Fisheries Resource Centre through the Financial Instrument for Fisheries Guidance (FIFG).


Editor's notes:

SWREG is an element of Business Link's Gateway service aimed at helping rural businesses in the south west, through access to information, training and business development support.

It is one of the support schemes aimed at helping rural and land based businesses across Devon, Cornwall & the Isles of Scilly and administered by the Business Link Agricultural Team. Others include:

• Cornwall Food and Drink Partnership scheme
• Rural Business Support Initiative
• Rural Diversification Capital Grant Initiative
• Rural Directory

Business Link Devon and Cornwall delivers the national Business Link service to the two counties under contract from the DTI's Small Business Service.

Business Link provides a free information and enquiry service via an information gateway on the web and via the telephone on 0845 600 9966 to all businesses and those considering starting a business.

The South West of England Regional Development Agency is one of the nine RDAs covering England and charged with creating conditions in which businesses and communities can thrive. The South West region comprises Gloucestershire, Dorset, Wiltshire, Somerset, Devon, and Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly; and the unitary authorities of Bath and North East Somerset, Bournemouth, City of Bristol, North Somerset, Plymouth, Poole, South Gloucestershire, Swindon, and Torbay.

South West England has almost 5 million residents. More than half live in rural areas – the highest proportion for any English region. It also covers the largest land area of any English RDA. The RDA has a budgetary allocation of £131.4 million in 2003/4 and £130.8 million in 2004/5.

The European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund (EAGGF)
is one of the four funds that make up the Objective One Programme for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly which is making £314m available to support the local economy between 2000 and 2006.

EAGGF aims to:

Help preserve the link between diversified farming and the land.
Improve and support the competitiveness of agriculture as a key activity in rural areas.
Ensure the diversification of the economy in rural areas.
Help to keep thriving communities in rural areas.
Preserve and improve the environment, the landscape and the rural heritage.

Clare Morgan
Media Relations Manager
Objective One Partnership Office
Castle House
Pydar Street
Truro TR1 2UD
Mobile: 07973 813647
Telephone: 01872 223439

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