During the Blue New Deal workshops to develop the action plan, a cross-sector idea to support inshore fishing, sustainable seafood and tourism was discussed. The group involved academics, businesses and practitioners.
What they want to see is an integrated strategy (either at the national or regional level) to develop place-based tourism packages, in particular for fishing communities. A maritime and coastal heritage tourism trail could be developed to support the launch of the English Coastal Path – which will cover the entire English coast by 2020.
The ‘trail’ would make the most of the coastal path as a marketing tool for the communities, which are linked through it. The ideas discussed involved: developing local and shortened supply chains to increase the value of local seafood and support the viability of small-scale fisheries; consumer education and awareness on sustainable fish (including wild caught and farmed fish), as well as cooking lessons to support consumption of more sustainable species; creative and innovative approaches to develop place identity, based on seafood and fishing heritage, aquaculture and angling, to attract visitors; improving the health of fish stocks and the marine environment; and some research to better understand the local context and the relationships between fisheries, the local community and the environment.
A project like this requires multiple partners and can be best delivered if it is led by communities with the support of businesses, environmental groups, tourism boards, local authorities and funding partners, for example, enterprise partnerships and retail sponsors. Government however must play a role too.
Photo: Kris Williams via Flickr