SEAFOOD businesses across Wales have successfully changed course and found new ways to sell their catch – and one Cardigan business is no exception.

With technical and marketing support from the ‘Port to Plate’ project, as well as help to identify new markets, many seafood businesses have found new outlets – from box schemes to nationwide deliveries.

Launched in February by Menter a Busnes, ‘Port to Plate’ carves out a distinct identity for seafood products from Wales and supports the development of Wales’ seafood industry across the supply chain.

Lockdown has been a seminal moment for new Cardigan fishmongers Jane and Richard Roche, who have adapted their fledgling business for a new world.

A career-change seven years ago saw the couple open The Fishermen’s Rest café on the quayside in Cardigan, with the premises serving as their home as well as their business.

Last year saw another change, when driven by a desire to source more locally-caught fish they took the plunge and trained as fishmongers – buying direct from local fishermen and merchants.

They opened ‘Catch of the Day’ with plans for Easter 2020 as the start of their first full season.

But it was not to be, as not one, but both of their enterprises were put into lockdown.

“Our café closed on March 21st and the fish merchants where we got most of our supplies closed a few days later,” says Jane.

But they have used the time to adapt their business. A van that had been purchased at the beginning of the year - with a view to future expansion - now is the mode of delivery direct to the public, who also buy their fish boxes from the quayside.

As Richard has to shield, opening the café and fishmongers will have to wait; but in the meantime, he and Jane have been participating in a raft of on-line courses and seafood sector meetings.

Jane said: “I’ve been attending anything I can. There have been Seafood Cluster and Cywain events – they have kept me sane, especially in the first six to eight weeks. Also, steering group meetings have given me more insight into the industry and had access to people from processors to academics.

“The pandemic has made us re-think and prioritise things, and when we open up again it will be a different type of business.”

Siân Davies, Port to Plate development manager, said: “From the start of lockdown, we have consulted with Welsh Seafood businesses to assess their situation so that we can determine the true reflection of the situation in Wales.

“We’ve also worked on raising awareness within the Welsh fishing fleet of what guidelines and procedures they need to follow to sell their catch directly to the consumer. This includes sourcing of appropriate packaging.

“We will be looking at how we can support the hospitality sector to work closer with Welsh fishermen and to use and promote Welsh Seafood in their establishments. We also have some exciting seasonal ideas and recipes to try at home coming up, and Welsh Seafood alternatives for events such as Christmas.”