How can you partake in sustainable seafood tasting in Cornwall?

11 June 2024

Cornwall is famed for its breathtaking marine views, the rhythmic dance of fishing boats on the sea, and its diverse seafood cuisine that is steeped in rich local tradition. For the food lovers among you, Cornwall offers a unique experience where you can savour the freshest seafood, caught the very same day. However, the Cornish food scene is not just about taste and tradition – there's a strong commitment to sustainability too. In this article, we will explore ways in which you can partake in sustainable seafood tasting in Cornwall, and how this contributes to preserving Cornwall's marine heritage.

Engage in a Cornwall fishing experience

Cornwall is home to numerous fishing towns such as Newlyn, which are steeped in fishing tradition. These towns offer you a chance to learn about sustainable fishing practices firsthand. There are opportunities to go out to sea with local fishermen and gain an understanding of how they respect the sea and its resources. You will find that the fish you catch will taste all the more delicious knowing that you have played a part in its journey from the sea to your plate.

Some of the fishing boats offer a 'catch and cook' experience, where professional chefs on board will turn your catch into a mouthwatering Cornish seafood dish. These experiences often come with a lesson in sustainable seafood preparation, reinforcing the importance of waste reduction and respect for the product.

Attend a local seafood event

Cornwall is renowned for its seafood events, which showcase the best of local and sustainable seafood. The annual Oyster Festival in Falmouth is a must-visit. Not only does it champion the native Fal oyster, but it also promotes the sustainability of this particular type of seafood.

The festival is a celebration of the sustainable oyster fishery in the Fal estuary, the last oyster fishery in Europe where the oysters are harvested using traditional, sail-powered vessels. Here, you can taste the freshest oysters and learn about the importance of sustainable fishing practices.

There are many more events throughout the year where you can enjoy sustainable Cornish seafood, including the Newlyn Fish Festival and the Porthleven Food Festival. These events combine food tastings with educational activities and talks about sustainability in the seafood industry.

Enjoy a meal at a sustainable seafood restaurant

Cornwall is home to an array of restaurants that are firmly committed to serving sustainable seafood. These restaurants work closely with local fishermen to ensure they only use fish that has been caught using environmentally friendly methods.

The emphasis in these establishments is on serving the freshest seafood, often caught and served on the same day. They celebrate the diversity of Cornish seafood, from the humble mackerel to the much-loved Cornish crab. When dining at these restaurants, you can rest assured that the seafood on your plate has been sourced responsibly and with minimal impact on the marine environment.

Purchase seafood from a sustainable fishmonger

If you prefer to cook your own seafood, Cornwall has an abundance of sustainable fishmongers. These businesses are all about supporting local fishermen and promoting sustainable fishing practices. They offer a wide range of seafood, all of which is locally sourced and freshly caught.

Many of these fishmongers are more than happy to share their knowledge about how to prepare and cook the seafood. They can also offer advice on which seafood is in season, helping you to make the most sustainable choice.

Participate in a seafood cooking class

Whether you are a seasoned cook or a complete beginner, a seafood cooking class is a great way to learn about sustainable seafood. Cornwall has many cooking schools that offer classes focused on seafood, where you will learn how to prepare and cook a range of seafood dishes.

These classes don't just focus on cooking – they also educate participants about sustainability in the seafood industry. The instructors will teach you about the different types of seafood and how to choose those that are sustainable. They'll also share tips on reducing waste and making the most out of every part of the fish.

All in all, Cornwall offers a wide range of experiences for those looking to partake in sustainable seafood tasting. Whether you're casting a line with local fishermen, attending a vibrant seafood event, dining at a restaurant, buying from a sustainable fishmonger, or learning how to cook your own seafood dish, you're sure to find an unforgettable experience that combines the joy of tasting delectable seafood with the satisfaction of knowing you're contributing to the preservation of Cornwall's marine heritage.

Visit an eco-friendly seafood attraction

Cornwall has a rich array of eco-friendly attractions that allow visitors to learn more about marine conservation, local fishing practices, and the importance of sustainable seafood. One such attraction that shouldn't be missed is the National Lobster Hatchery in Padstow. It’s an award-winning conservation, research, and education charity that focuses on the European Lobster.

Visitors can learn about the hatchery's work in helping to sustain lobster populations and preserve marine biodiversity. They will also get a chance to see baby lobsters being reared before being released back to the sea. Visiting the hatchery not only provides an engaging and educational day out but also supports a cause that directly contributes to the sustainability of the local seafood industry.

Another must-visit attraction for seafood lovers is the Newquay Harbour, where you can take a tour and learn about the role the harbour plays in supporting sustainable fishing practices in Cornwall. The harbour is a hub for local fishing boats that use environmentally friendly methods to catch fresh seafood daily. It's also home to the Newlyn Fish Festival, an annual event that celebrates the local fishing industry and promotes sustainable practices.

Explore the broader food culture in Cornwall

Cornish culture is not just about sustainable seafood; there's a lot more to explore. The local food culture is rich, diverse, and increasingly focused on sustainability. Cornwall is not only known for its fresh seafood but also for traditional Cornish pasties, cream tea, and an increasing number of plant-based options catering to different dietary requirements.

For an authentic farm-to-table experience, there are numerous farmers’ markets across Cornwall that champion local food producers. These markets are perfect places to sample the best of Cornwall's produce, from freshly picked fruits and vegetables, local cheeses, homemade jams, and artisan bread.

The Porthleven Food Festival and the Falmouth Oyster Festival are fantastic venues to experience the wider Cornish food culture. These events offer a mix of food tastings, cooking demos, live music, and talks about sustainability. The festivals are also a chance to indulge in some traditional Cornish cream tea, a must-try delicacy when in Cornwall.

As for plant-based options, many restaurants and food stalls in Cornwall now offer delicious vegan and vegetarian dishes. Establishments such as The Fish Kitchen in Port Isaac have an array of plant-based dishes on the menu and are careful to cater to all dietary requirements. This evolution of the food scene reflects Cornwall's commitment to sustainability and inclusivity.


In conclusion, Cornwall is a haven for sustainable seafood lovers. There’s a wide variety of experiences on offer, from engaging in a traditional fishing experience, attending a seafood event, dining at eco-friendly restaurants, purchasing seafood from sustainable fishmongers, participating in a seafood cooking class, visiting eco-friendly seafood attractions, and exploring the broader food culture.

These experiences are not just about savouring delicious seafood; they're about understanding and respecting the value of Cornwall's natural resources and the importance of sustainable practices in preserving the region's cultural heritage. Whether you enjoy a Cornish pasty at a food festival, buy from a local fishmonger, or learn about lobster conservation at the Lobster Hatchery, every action contributes to the sustainability of Cornwall's marine environment and supports local communities.

The next time you visit Cornwall, don't just taste the seafood—experience it. Learn about the journey from sea to plate, and take part in preserving Cornwall's marine heritage. Encourage others to do the same, and together, we can ensure a sustainable future for Cornwall's seafood industry.

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