Local lockdown lobsters and other creatures

The coronavirus has shown Brits to not be great eaters of the UK’s domestic seafood harvest. Lobsters that are fished for in Wales are shipped to France, Spain and China, where the British go on holiday and then probably pay twice the price for the same lobster they could have had domestically. With that in mind, www.lockdownlobsters.co.uk was born to help the fishermen whose livelihoods were being devastated by the export drop.

Now, I have lived all my life on an island, and grew up enjoying a lot of the ocean’s output, from clams to lobsters and every fish in between. However, on this island, there are people whose main idea of seafood is fish and chips. Or have never had a lobster. Or don’t like fish. This makes me sad. But by golly, I’m going to do my part to help. We received five of these local lobsters, and we ate the pictured feast this weekend.

It seems like eating locally will be a trend for a while. Global exports in dairy products are forecast to fall by 4.1% in 2020, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). This would be the steepest contraction in around 30 years if realised, as import demand drops in multiple countries. For overall UK dairy export volumes, the vast majority of exports are destined for the EU (91% in 2019), the Agricultural and Horticultural Board (AHDB) notes.

Losses are more noticeable for specific markets, and for individual companies. For example, China and Algeria are big importers of milk powders, and are relatively important markets for UK exporters. In 2019, the UK exported around 8,000 tonnes of milk powders and concentrates to each of these countries, together accounting for 10% of annual volumes and 27% of the total value, according to the AHDB.

I suspect that once the export market comes back, it will be changing, with Brexit adding different markets to the mix as well. I don’t think dairy will go back to the days where only 7% of the total production was traded internationally, but I do think the countries importing dairy products will see changes in what types of dairy their citizens ask for.

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