CUMBRIA Wildlife Trust launches new My Local Catch project in West Cumbria to celebrate local seafood and to promote low-impact fishing

Lucy Mather from Penrith has just been appointed as Project Officer for My Local Catch, a new project run by Cumbria Wildlife Trust.

The wildlife charity has been awarded £203,000 by The National Lottery Heritage Fund to work with local communities and young people in west Cumbria, in particular around Whitehaven. Made possible by money raised by National Lottery players, the aim of the project is to bring to life where our local fish comes from and to raise awareness of marine wildlife in this area.

The project will run for two and a half years, during which time Lucy will work with local fisherman to promote low-impact fishing methods that don’t damage our sea beds. She’ll work closely with coastal communities, suppliers, retailers, restaurants and schools and youth groups, to raise awareness about the benefits of locally and sustainably-sourced seafood and how this will help the recovery of our seas.

Lucy, who has just finished a sixth-month Marine Futures North West Internship with Cumbria Wildlife Trust, said: “We’re thrilled to have received this support thanks to The National Lottery players and I’m really excited to start work on My

"Local Catch (the start of the project was delayed last year due to the pandemic). In the UK, we export around 80 per cent of the seafood we catch. Let’s try to sell and eat more locally! I’ll be working with communities in Whitehaven to encourage them to support their local fishmongers when they can and buy locally-sourced, low-impact seafood.

"I’ll even be offering free cooking demonstrations and taster sessions in collaboration with local chefs.”

She also hopes to work with local organisations who are addressing food poverty, to help low-income families to use sustainably-caught seafood in an affordable way.

You can meet Lucy at SeaFest on Saturday, July 31 at St Bees Beach, a fun day out for all the family in celebration of our local Cumbrian catch. You can expect some familiar favourites from the St Bees Beached Art festival, a popular event with local people for many years, including the much-loved sand sculpture competition.

This year there’ll be lots more on offer as well, including a range of outdoor activities for children and adults about local marine life and seafood cooking demonstrations.