The Seafish ‘Love Seafood’ website has come under criticism for errors and inaccuracies that could damage consumer confidence
The Love Seafood website has come under heavy criticism after it was found to have glaring errors and inaccurate information regarding species of fish and shellfish.
The issue was highlighted on BBC Politics South West show on Sunday morning, (07 March 2021).
Seafish has been lambasted for not carrying out the correct research into the fish they are promoting on their website and representatives of the industry fear this could put the public off from going out and buying fresh UK caught fish, which is the aim of the campaign.
It has also come under attack for promoting fish and shellfish that are not easily found in UK fishmongers as a lot of these species are exported abroad for sale on the Continent.
“What’s the point of promoting cuttlefish when it’s difficult for the public to find it? What about whiting and flounder and megrim and lemon sole that are cheaper, easier to find and cook?” asks Terri Portmann, a Marine and Fisheries Consultant.
“When you tell the public something is “out of season” they can take that to mean not available, or not in good condition. Neither of those things are good if you are trying to promote something.”
The description of the fish and shellfish raised concerns, but also the description of the meat, availability and seasonality.
In the BBC Politics show it was pointed out by Terri Portmann that the Love Seafood website recommended that Brill was to be scaled before cooking and that Dover Sole was best held over for a few days.
Issues with fish such as Atlantic Wolfish that are not readily available was also covered. Experienced fish merchant Andy Trust said he never recalled ever seeing the species in any supermarket.
So fishy twitter followers, clip here of @BBCPolitics SW on Sunday. Is it time Govt stopped funding itself, and fund industry instead to run campaigns? I’m sure the £424k on SeaForYourself and £200k for this months new campaign could have done a lot of good in industry hands. pic.twitter.com/QgCXF1kelE
— Terri Portmann (@Giveitago1) March 10, 2021
Another gaff by the website is the number of fish products that has been classified as being available in tins; such as tinned brill and tinned whiting, something which Newlyn skipper David Stevens says he has never come across.
Mr Stevens also criticised the website for having seasons wrong on species such as cuttlefish, where the website claims it is the summer, the usual season for catching cuttlefish on the south coast is September through until March.
Love Seafood also received criticism for promoting high end fish such as turbot, scallops and monkfish which would be out of the price range of normal families as a weekly dinner. It was suggested that most families would love to support their local fishermen but this would leave a lot of people feeling excluded from buying into the idea of making fish a staple food in their weekly shop.
Instead, Andy Trust recommended that the website should be promoting more affordable and readily available species such as cod, haddock and plaice.
Dave Stevens finished by said that there are some glaring holes in the websites information that need to be fact-checked and recommended that the industry be consulted before they go releasing information like this, and that the money could have probably been spent a little wiser.
Seafish responds: Seafish says ‘Love Seafood’ Campaign a success with industry
by Oliver McBride