Hastings folk give their backing to ‘Hastings Fish’

There’s overwhelming local support for plans to promote ‘Hastings Fish’ as something a bit special.

Yesterday morning Hastings In Focus received a press release from Hastings Borough Council (HBC) which is launching its ‘Hastings Fish’ brand at this weekend’s Seafood and Wine festival and it rightly wanted to shout about it.

We wrote up the story and published it during the course of the morning. While other stories published at around the same time were clocking up multiple hits the story about ‘Hastings Fish’ was virtually ignored, so yesterday afternoon on social media we said:”There’s been big investment in the scheme and HBC seems proud of its initiative and involvement in getting this off the ground… are local people impressed by it or do you see it as just window dressing?

Within minutes the story was being avidly read and very soon people started to make their feelings known.

Adan Hill said: “The scheme sounds great as they are exporting ‘Hastings Fish’ as a brand beyond the town as well as locally. They have engaged well in Hastings and have a major brand backing them up logistically.”

While Sascia Cimelli-Lord said she’d already seen the promotional material around town: “I saw the little sticker for the first time on the window in Farmyard on Saturday night. Personally I think it’s a brilliant idea – if they have a sticker then you know the fish is sourced locally rather than being sent on vans from Grimsby or wherever. What’s not to like about it?”

IMG_2380
Hastings’ boasts the largest beach launched fleet in Europe.

Sophy Lynn said: “Great will only buy local and now it will be easy to spot.” While Erica Smith posted: “I think it’s a good thing. Fish is such a healthy food and fish from a local, sustainable fishing fleet is an amazing resource to have on our doorstep.”

Beth King is a fan too: “It’s a great idea and helps promote sustainable seasonal species such as cuttlefish. Lots of great recipes and cooking tips too. Let’s hope everyone gets behind it is genuinely a great scheme supporting the future of the local fishing fleet.”

Hastings’ former mayor Judy Rogers joined in the discussion saying: “I think it’s great to know that you’re buying fresh caught Hastings fish, I will be looking for the brand before I buy any fish.”

John Pratty pointed out: “It’s a fab idea… it makes me cross that people would rather buy frozen fish in plastic packets, than buying local and keeping our boats at sea.”

Mary Murphy sees the positives too: “I think it is a positive project to raise awareness of locally caught fish. I always buy local fish. Why not promote Hastings?”

While dozens of other people supported the post or simple said things like ‘brilliant’ or ‘great idea’.

Oli Smith sounded a note of caution however: “It’s a great idea but it sounds like it would be very hard to police.

“HBC could spend a lot of money developing a brand and… have absolutely no control of it. I doubt any fish restaurant or chippy would turn down any nicely designed stickers or posters – especially if there’s an expensive marketing campaign behind it – but the problem is, who is going to inspect those people who are using the brand to ensure what is being sold as ‘Hastings Fish’ actually is Hastings fish?

“Sounds well intentioned but if our local fishermen and fish traders are going to benefit it will need to be promoted locally and properly policed.”

Hastings Borough Council (HBC) won grant funding to create the ‘Hastings Fish’ brand from the Hastings Fisheries Local Action Group (FLAG) part of the EU’s European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) and HBC deputy leader Kim Forward, lead councillor for regeneration and culture says the brand should be seen as ‘a real stamp of approval’.

MsForwards says it will make it easy for people to choose fish caught by the local fishing fleet and will know that when they see the sign they are buying sustainably caught Hastings fish and supporting a 1,000 year old tradition.

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