A first month to remember!

Posted by Marcus Coleman on 08 February 2016

In my first month with Seafish, I was delighted that my first 'official' engagement turned out to be the National Fish and Chip Awards held in London's Lancaster Hotel. It was fantastic to see the industry being so loud and proud about celebrating its success. Without exception, every category throughout the awards had attracted fierce, yet friendly, competition and it clearly meant so much to those who carried off their top prizes. Whilst the most treasured award is clearly the 'Independent Takeaway' of the year, the highlight for me was being asked to present the 'Best Mobile Operator' award. This prize went to 'StarChip Enterprise' - what a great name and no doubt a worthy winner.

It would be remiss of me not to recognise the hard work and commitment from a great number of Seafish staff who provided the energy and organisation skills needed to deliver an event of this scale and quality. The hugely positive feedback I have seen from others present at the awards underlines just how well received and appreciated this event is. See you there in 2017?

Beyond the glitz of the F&C Awards, I have been busy getting down to business, meeting with as many Seafish staff as I can and getting out to see a range of stakeholders in all sectors of the industry. I've quickly realised that this task is not going to be a quick one in such a diverse industry! Those I have met already have been very welcoming and generous with their time and are really helping me get up to speed as fast as I can with the work Seafish is doing and how they see it.

I'm looking forward to attending each of the three Sector Panels in the next few weeks and getting along to our regional Advisory Committees and some of the Issues groups. Please say hello if you see me there. And of course, to help put all the 'talk' into context I visited Grimsby Fish Market last week and I'll be going to Peterhead/Aberdeen at the end of February.

Finally this month, I would like to congratulate all those who have helped re-launch the Responsible Fishing Scheme this week. At an event held at the Houses of Parliament, industry stakeholders mingled with a number of MPs and listened to powerful speeches from Seafish's Dr Tom Pickerell; Mike Park from the Scottish White Fish Producers' Association; and Mike Berthet, M&J Seafoods. It seems that the scheme has 'come of age' and that the time is right to give it a new kick-start as a tool that really helps skippers demonstrate best practice and enhance the reputation of the sector. We were all delighted to hear a new announcement from another major retailer and see Fisheries Minister George Eustace join us for the event, underlining just how important the RFS is for the UK seafood industry.