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Jersey Fish Festival announced

Date: 25/06/2009 | Posted by John Garton
A fun-filled family day out to celebrate the Island’s fishing industry, maritime heritage and culture is being staged at the harbour at the end of next month.

The Jersey Fish Festival takes place on the Victoria Pier, home to the Island’s commercial fishing fleet, on Saturday 25 July.  Organised by local fisherman and supported by Economic Development, Island organisations, the Genuine Jersey Products Association and businesses, the aim is to showcase the fishing industry, highlight the variety and quality of locally-caught seafood and celebrate the Island’s produce and producers.

A packed 12-hour programme of entertainment from 10 am will include all the ingredients of a traditional fisherman’s festival with a bass fishing competition, sea shanties and the customary colourful water carnival featuring sculling races, demonstrations and a water-borne parade of the Island’s fishing fleet, each decorated from bow to stern in flags and bunting with crews in fancy dress. The new St Helier Lifeboat, RNLB George Sullivan, will be joining the star attraction, the French Civil Emergency helicopter Dragon Cinquante Cinq from Granville, in a simulated air-sea rescue.

The Chairman of the Jersey Fisherman’s Association, Don Thompson, said the emphasis was on a relaxed family day out for Islanders, visitors and anyone with an interest in boats and fishing.

‘The overriding aims are for everyone to celebrate Jersey’s fishing and maritime heritage, have a fantastic day out, enjoy the entertainment, eat plenty of seafood and meet the men who work in the industry. The Jersey fishery is an ages old diverse and active industry that contributes £7 million to the Island’s economy each year. Our fishermen work all year round and at great distances – and sometimes in dangerous conditions - to bring home many varieties of seafood for local consumption and export. We’re taking a day off to play host to everyone who wants to join us to celebrate an integral part of Jersey culture,’ he said.

The Assistant Minister for Economic Development, the Constable of St Clement, Len Norman, said they were delighted to lend the department’s varied expertise to what promised to be an exciting celebration of local produce and talents.

‘The Fishermen’s Association and many others have put their hearts and souls into organising this festival and what better place to showcase Jersey’s maritime heritage and quality seafood than on the quayside where the fleet lands its catch. Jersey is blessed with a tremendous choice of seafood, which when combined with local agricultural produce, gives Islanders and visitors alike unparalleled menu options – a key component of the Jersey product offering,’ he said.

The Victoria Pier will be transformed for the day with exhibitors and information stalls, fishing skills workshops, seafood cooking demonstrations from local chefs and a farmers and crafts market. Local artist Tina-Ellis Brecknell will be inviting children to help her in creating a sea sculpture from recycled flotsam and jetsam. A free shuttle bus will run from outside the Pomme d’Or to the pier. There is ample paid parking nearby in Pier Road car park and Paycard parking at South Hill and outside Commercial Buildings which all become free after 5 pm. The festival will end at 10 pm with a spectacular fireworks display – subject to securing sponsorship.

Mr Thompson wanted to thank everyone involved in the festival but in particular Myra Shacklady and the team at Jersey Harbours who have pulled out all the stops to enable the festival to take place in the busy port. Sponsorship from Rubis and Channel Islands Electricity Grid(CIEG)  will add to the support provided under the EDD Rural Initiative Scheme and the Genuine Jersey Products Association, for what it is hoped will become yet another significant event in Jersey’s annual events calendar.