A little background about Lockdown Lobsters.
On the 17th March 2020 Jude Edginton was on his, as yet unbeknown, last photoshoot before lockdown. The job was in North Wales and the task was to take a portrait of a lobster fishman, Sion Williams, for a series about sustainable fishing in the UK. Jude’s future assignments were being cancelled, with every ping on his phone notifying him of another lost job. A bond quickly formed between the unlikely duo, with Sion also facing financial disaster – heavy storms had been preventing him from making his catch, and now Covid 19 meant his export to China and Europe w as closed, leaving him with no route to market.
Sion explains: 90% of the shellfish caught in Welsh waters are exported, which makes us very vulnerable to situations outside our control. In the future I believe that the seafood industry within the UK should be less dependent on export. Shortening the supply chains reduces carbon footprint. It make no sense exporting high quality seafood that is high in nutrients all over Europe and half way around the world when we could be eating it and benefiting economically and health wise consuming it within the UK.
The pair hatched a unique plan with a mission to sell Sion’s catch to London, with the view to shorten supply chains for the better. At first using word of mouth and Whatsapp groups they started to take orders from Jude’s network in London. The plan was to sell to neighbours and friends and then went viral on social media.
“Suddenly strangers got hold of this and were just sending me emails saying they had deposited money for lobsters into my account with their address.” Says Jude. “We then had the problem of collecting the Lobsters and delivering them live under global pandemic heavy lockdown. We opted for drop off points with the Giraffe House in Regents Park being a popular choice. 30 People lined up with masks as lobsters were passed out of the back of the car.”
A ton of lobsters have now been sold. The mission for Lockdown Lobsters is to continue beyond the pandemic. Through Sion’s network, they hope to work with other fishemen to maximise the opportunity of shortening supply chain and get the UK eating affordable and fresh native lobsters.
Sion Williams is a third generation lobster fisherman, and his father still helps him get his boat out every day at a small natural cove on the Lynn Peninsular. He is on the Welsh Government’s Fisheries Management Group and a director of the Welsh Fishermen’s Association. He also works closely with Fisheries Enforcement to protect Welsh seas, and Bangor University on lobster and crab management projects.
Jude Edginton is a London based portrait photographer. Clients include Channel 4, The BBC, Adidas, Nike, Microsoft, Mobil 1, The Times Magazine, Shortlist, ESPN The Magazine, The Sunday Times, The New York Times. His subjects range from Gogglebox stars to Noel Gallagher and from Thierry Henry to Boris Johnson. He is a winner of the Picture Editor awards Magazine Photographer Of The Year and has twice been nominated for the British Press awards. judeedginton.com