Catchbox is a cooperative connecting people with their local fishermen and fish in the towns of Brighton & Chichester. The scheme aims to both encourage responsible fishing, sustainable consumption of a wider variety of fish, and help people get to know the fish in their seas. The cooperative was set up by the marine conservation NGO SeaWeb, with seed funding from the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs – www.catchbox.coop .
The Observer Ethical Awards, also known as the “Green Oscars” are now in their eighth year and acknowledge those contributing to a fairer, more sustainable world. The Big Idea category is for enterprises whose “world-changing concepts will radically help us to live sustainably”. Being shortlisted for such an award is public acknowledgement of the resonance and importance of Catchbox’s aim with the British public.
James Hakner, a Brighton resident and Catchbox member commented: “Buying fish through Catchbox means that I get to learn more about the fish swimming in our local waters, eat a wider variety of seafood, and what’s more, be assured that my fish has been caught by fishermen using responsible methods. Catchbox is providing an interesting alternative in today’s food system and although it’s still early days for the scheme – we hope this shortlisting signifies the long-term success to come.”
Jack Clarke, Catchbox coordinator said: “We’re delighted to be nominated for this award. Having launched the scheme to public acclaim, we’re now looking forward to Catchbox becoming fully integrated and established within the Brighton and Chichester communities. Once the scheme has fully taken root in the South East of England, we’re excited to see where else we can take this idea."
Peter Williams, a Chichester fisherman commented: “As a fishermen, being involved in Catchbox is an experiment. It has the potential to be a better way of reaching new and local customers, interested in a wider variety of fish. What’s more, the scheme rewards us fishermen who catch our fish in responsible ways. At a time when the fishing industry is being closely looked at, this is really encouraging for those of us doing the right thing for the long-term future of our fisheries.”
Following on from the success of the current pilot season and due to public demand, Catchbox is taking on more members for the second half of their 12 week season. Anyone interested in getting involved should go to www.catchbox.coop/sign-up .