Hastings is home to the largest beach-launched fishing fleets in the UK, with more than 25 boats, all under-ten-metre inshore fishing vessels. Hastings is a mixed fishery with MSC (Marine Stewardship Council) certification for its Dover sole, mackerel, and herring fisheries.
The Hastings Fishermen’s Protection Society was set up to preserve the fishing community’s right to work from the stone beach, known as the Stade. Every fisher in Hastings is a member of the society. The society works in partnership with a number of other organisations, Hastings Borough Council, the University of Brighton and tourism providers, including the Hastings Fishermen’s Museum, visited by over 140,000 people every year.
As a result of its work, the Hastings Fishermen’s Protection Society is not only supporting local businesses and jobs; it is also helping promote the cultural value of the local fishing activities.
Hastings is a cherish example in the UK of the multiple benefits of cross-sectoral cooperation and place-based educational and cultural initiatives. The strong links in Hastings between the local fishing fleet and the different sectors in the supply chain helps raise consumer awareness about the importance of the provenance of the fish they are eating and the value of sustainably caught fresh local fish.