More than 3,000 islanders have joined an online fish market to support local fishermen unable to export their catch as a result of European lockdowns and restaurants shutting locally.
‘Jersey Alternative Fish Market’ was set up by islander Jez Strickland last week to help keep the local fishing industry alive.
“This is a Jersey Facebook group to help save our fishing fleet by diverting the now defunct export, and local bulk order market, direct to local buyers,” he explained on the page.
Jez said he has no link with the fishing industry – he manages the Headway charity shop which had to close its doors last Saturday – other than “appreciating the food that these hard-working people provide for us."
“I've read the plight of our fisheries before this virus with Brexit, and the Treaty of Grainville Bay affecting it's future,” Jez told Express. “But when I heard that 80% of the export market for our catch just disappeared overnight, I thought if I could help a bit to enable them to make some sort of living.”
Jez said he wasn’t expecting the group to receive the response it has had. In just over a week, over 3,000 people have joined the group, which allows fishermen to advertise their daily catch, ranging from crabs to lobsters and sea bass.
Jez also compiled a list of suppliers so that fish lovers can contact directly.
Pictured: Islanders have been sharing pictures of their meals.
“I was thinking about 80 to 100 people might join and buy a few lobsters. The reality has been amazing!” he said.
Jez has also been pleased to see customers sharing pictures of their meals, while fishing crews comment on how they have cleared their stock.
“I just love reading the comments between fishing crews and customers, especially new customers who have never bought from a boat on the beach, before. The 'thank yous' from the fisheries is fuel enough to keep going.
“Fishing boats are saying they have sold out for the day, but, 'Stay in touch as we'll be out in the next few days', and then buyers latch on placing orders. It just shows you how caring most people are in a crisis.”
Pictured: Getfresh.je will be launching on Monday 30 March.
Meanwhile, the Refinery will be launching Getfresh.je, an online service that aims to help Jersey producers trade with existing and new customers, on Monday 30 March.
The Refinery are currently contacting local suppliers of seafood, fish, fruit, vegetables, meat, eggs, milk, cheese, cakes, bread, baked goods, preserves, ready meals, pre-cooked meals, fresh boxes and anything that can be collected or delivered in Jersey.
It is hoped the website will suit smaller suppliers who don’t have the budget or capacity to operate their own online ordering sites, but local businesses of any size are welcomed to join.
"We are now in a period where the online world is playing a crucial part in helping to keep people supplied with goods," Technical Director, Alaistair Jerrom-Smith, said. "The idea for Getfresh.je was something we had been mulling over for a while as there didn’t seem to be one place where a customer could find and order all the beautiful fresh produce that Jersey has to offer.
"So, whilst it is a challenging period for everyone, the current crisis gave us the push needed to get the website up and running as quickly as possible to provide another avenue to more easily source local produce."
Fetch.je, an online store of stores has also launched, to enable islanders to order restaurant-quality food, essential and luxury products and much-needed services directly to their door.
Nude Food, Cargo and Seymour Hotels are among the restaurants already signed up. Individual fishermen and farm shops can also use the platform to sell their local produce.
Customers can order and pay with confidence - from several different merchants in the same online ‘basket’ - and pay with debit/credit card on the platform, which is a partnership between DWE Digital and 365Tickets.
Businesses who want to get involved do not need an existing website. Fetch will create a store for them and upload their goods, services and prices. Meanwhile, businesses who already have a website can add a ‘Shop with Fetch’ button, to take customers straight to a bespoke online store.
“We want to show Jersey what the digital community can do," Dave Edwards, DWE Digital, said. "This is about harnessing all our e-commerce and logistics skills to keep our much-loved physical businesses afloat, and keep money flowing into the island economy. It’s just one local solution to a rapidly-evolving global crisis, but we hope it’ll make a difference.”
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