Supermarket Morrisons has seen sales of British fish rise 60 per cent after it began selling boxes of Cornish seafood.

Like other supermarkets across the country, the company closed fresh fish counters at the outset of the coronavirus crisis - a decision described by Paul Trebilcock, of the Cornish Fish Producers Organisation (CFPO), as "counter-intuitive" and "causing frustration at the quayside".

However, the store, which sources fish via Falfish based in Falmouth and Redruth, has reintroduced the product by developing a 'British fish box’, putting a new emphasis on selling UK species.

The move has been looked at in a special, feature episode of the commercial fishing podcast Fathom, which looks below the surface of the UK fishing industry by speaking with fishermen and experts.

Challenged on the decision to close the counters, Sophie Throup, head of agriculture, fisheries and sustainable sourcing at Morrisons, explained: “Everyone started behaving and shopping very differently - stockpiling toilet rolls and pasta.

"As a business we had to concentrate on helping customers move through the stores as quickly and safely as possible - closing counters meant we could focus our efforts on keeping shelves stocked."

The characteristic back-and-forth of fishmonger counters also presented a risk for retailers, with Ms Throup adding: “Fish counters are about exchanging knowledge and information - personal contact - this is why they were shut right at the beginning."

Paul Trebilcock suggested the initiative could represent a "new normal" post-Covid, with Ms Throup noting that Morrisons “haven’t altered the range of seafood we’re selling, but what we have altered is the volume - we are selling 60 per cent more British fish now than we do normally."

She added this included a 1,400 per cent increase in sales of dover sole, and an 83 per cent increase in sales of monkfish - something she described as "phenomenal."

Edward Polley of Falfish, joined by colleaged Mark Greet, said lockdown conditions had changed how the public approached seafood.

"Under this period of lockdown, whilst people have been forced to stay at home, it’s also encouraged them to cook at home - and people are starting to eat more seafood at home.

"[People are discovering] how easy and simple seafood can be - the beauty is there’s something for every budget," he added.