Seafish (the UK authority on seafood) has launched a new schools’ programme, the first of its kind, to reinforce its work to educate children on the benefits of eating seafood and address the lack of a formal framework for nutrition education within schools.
Seafish is working with a range of seafood industry partners, such as Young’s Seafood to pilot the project throughout the important seafood community of North Lincolnshire, before rolling it out to the rest of the UK later in the year.
The initiative has been designed to encourage early years (3-5) children to discover more about seafood and encourage them embrace fish and shellfish as part of a healthy, balanced diet. Thirty-
five schools throughout North Lincolnshire, including Welholme Primary in Grimsby, have already signed up to the programme, reaching approximately 2970 pupils.
Schools and local groups who participate in the trials will be is
sued with resources, information and activities that they will need to deliver the programme in a fun and engaging way. Industry partners will work with schools and groups local to them to enhance learning through visits, expert advice and practical, hands-on, hosted activities.
Speaking on the launch of the project Karen Galloway, Head of Marketing said:
“As more and more research highlights that many of us are not getting enough seafood and the right amount of essential nutrients it provides, it is absolutely vital that children and young people understand the importance of seafood as part of a healthy balanced diet. By delivering initiatives like this we hope to do just that.
“We have designed this programme to ensure that children have memorable experience with information they can share with their family, so they can all enjoy delicious and healthy seafood dishes as part of a balanced diet.”
Duncan Lucas, a seafood specialist from Young’s Seafood. who led the first seafood lesson at Welholme Primary in Grimsby said: “As an ambassador within our industry it was a pleasure to be involved in this school initiative run by Seafish. The children of today are not only eating fish today but also they are our consumers of the future and so encouraging them with interactive seafood sessions is developing our future seafood connoisseur within the retail market.
“It was a great experience to see the children interested in fish and making a lovely fish pie to take home. The key message was healthy eating supported by eating fish twice a week and it was encouraging to see the children explain this to the teachers and press after the event.
“It’s critical for the seafood industry going forward that we market the health values of seafood, oily fish and vitamins, encouraging consumers to eat seafood at least twice a week.”
When asked how he enjoyed his first seafood lesson Ethan Gale (age 6), a Year 1 pupil at Welholme Primary said: “It was fun. We made fish pie! I will tell my mum how to make it. She is is a dinner lady in the school.”
Kathy Cook, Year 1 teacher at Welholme Primary School said: “The children have had a great time today – who knew learning about fish could be so fun? I think they will all be telling their parents about it tonight.”
“It is important that children learn about nutrition at an early age, so that they can build good eating habits for the future and get the food they need to give them the best start in life. Until now, there really hasn’t been much guidance for schools on this front, so it is fantastic for me too to learn from all the seafood experts that Seafish has introduced us to.”
In addition to this new project and the information, tips and recipes they publish via the FishistheDish website (www.fishisthedish.co.uk), Seafish is delivering a number of fun and engaging educational initiatives for family members of all ages. This includes the Healthy Happy Hearts programme, which highlights the importance of the Omega-3 fatty acids for good heart health, and support for the British Nutrition Foundation’s (BNF) Healthy Eating Week (3 to 7 June 2013).
Seafish has also been working with BNF to increase the seafood presence on their teaching website. As part of this activity, the BNF featured a seafood poster on their website and in their Education Bulletin for March – this reached over 7,000 teachers. It was also as a key part of their conference materials in 2013.
To learn more about the health benefits of seafood, how to make informed seafood choices,and how to prepare delicious seafood dishes, visit www.fishisthedish.co.uk
Notes to editors
*Following the launch of the National Curriculum consultation for England by the Department for Education (DfE) in February 2013, there has been some concern that the draft curriculum does not adequately support clear progression in food and nutrition understanding; that support for cooking activities needs to be strengthened so that it is not just delivered ‘where possible’; and that other aspects of food understanding, such as food hygiene and socio-economic aspects of food choice, are embedded so that it prepares children and young people to make informed choices now and in the future by demonstrating and applying appropriate knowledge of concepts and practical skills.
- Seafish was founded in 1981 by an Act of Parliament and supports all sectors of the seafood industry for a sustainable, profitable future.
- It is the only pan-industry body offering services to all parts of the seafood industry, including catching and aquaculture, processors, importers, exporters and distributors of seafood and restaurants and retailers.
- Seafish is funded by a levy on the first sale of seafood landed and imported in the UK.
- It aims to support and improve the environmental sustainability, efficiency and cost-effectiveness of the industry, as well as promoting sustainably-sourced seafood.
- For more information visit www.seafish.org
- Fish is the dish is a consumer programme aimed at encouraging families to eat more seafood as part of a healthy balanced diet. For more information visit www.fishisthedish.co.uk