Catch of the day

Cabaz do Peixe, or literally ‘Fish Basket,’ is an online food delivery service for people living in and around Lisbon, Portugal. For just €25, you can receive a ‘catch of the day’ box with 3kg of fresh local fish. And ordering couldn’t be easier: visit their website, fill out your details, and indicate how often you would like your fresh fish delivered. No need to worry about receiving seafood that’s not to your taste: you can indicate the fish you would prefer to exclude from your box!

Cabaz do Peixe is the brainchild of the local fishing boat owners’ association and an environmental NGO. The idea behind the service is to provide Portuguese coastal communities with fresh fish at low cost, while still guaranteeing a fair price for fishermen. The secret is the direct sale from producer to consumer. Thanks to digital technology, the fishermen have cut out the middle man.

“Consumers have access to fresh, quality fish that they have learned to cook in different ways. This project made it possible to discover lesser known fish species and reduce rejections,” says Natália Henriques, executive director of the fisheries local action group ADREPES Costeiro, which supports Cabaz do Peixe.

Selling fresh fish © Cabaz do Peixe, 2020

Selling fresh fish © Cabaz do Peixe, 2020

A bright idea

The project kicked off with a website and the first refrigerated storage units. In 2018, additional EU funding enabled Cabaz do Peixe to purchase more refrigerated distribution trucks, helping to ramp up business.

In total, 400 fishermen and 80 small vessels, which use sustainable fishing techniques like pole and line or small nets, are involved. New jobs have been created along the way, helping to strengthen the region’s coastal economy. And many of the fishermen have strengthened their digital skills through their involvement in the project’s online marketing.

“Sales have increased, the business has expanded from year to year and demand is growing. We already sell 160 baskets a week, it makes all the difference,” says António Pila, former chairman of the local fishing boat owners’ association.

Local fishermen © Cabaz do Peixe, 2020

Local fishermen © Cabaz do Peixe, 2020

Local solidarity in times of crisis

The coronavirus pandemic has shown how vulnerable we all are – our health systems, our economies and our food supplies. However, the Cabaz do Peixe fishermen were ahead of the game – their service was ideal for the crisis conditions, being fully digital and relying on deliveries. So business continued as normal, with an additional advantage of helping clients stay safe as they had no need to go to busy supermarkets and risk infection.

Buying local produce helps sustain small businesses and reduces the risk of shortages in case of supply chain disruption. Knowing where your food comes from is central to the EU’s new Farm to Fork strategy, which is at the heart of Europe’s transition to a greener economy. And to help you make more informed choices in the future, famous chefs from across Europe have teamed up with the EU to share tips, tricks and recipes on sustainable fish and seafood as part of the Taste the Ocean campaign.

Selling fresh fish © Cabaz do Peixe, 2020

Selling fresh fish © Cabaz do Peixe, 2020

Recovery for Europe’s maritime community

Looking to the future, it’s important that Europe’s coastal communities don’t fall behind in the wake of the crisis. That is why the EU is supporting fishermen in the transition to sustainable fishing practices, helping local economies diversify and digitise, and backing projects that are committed to creating maritime jobs.

With this assistance, the hope is that more European communities and local businesses can experience successes like Cabaz do Peixe.