Friday, 4 September 2009

What a load of 'Pollocks'

What really infuriates me are people that preach about something they clearly do not understand. I am sure everybody gets this in their work place from time to time but in our industry everyone is and expert as they have just read the recent column in the Standard, or London Paper or seen a celeb chef on TV championing the cause of the next best fish.

“I hope that’s not unsustainable Bluefin tuna”, as a lady points to a line caught, tagged, Albacore Tuna from the Cornish MSC status fishery – “No madam, I do not, and have never, sold bluefin tuna” was the response – “Well I should think so, they are extinct so I am telling you must not sell them” she smugly replies “Now, do you have any nice swordfish”. So I guess substituting one well documented critically endangered species for a lesser known victim is fine. The customer left after being politely told she needs to find a fishmonger with swordfish and without a conscience. Additionally, why is it so right to use Pollack in a fish pie as ‘a filler’ as it is deemed a more ethical choice. When this is put to me I suggest maybe use another egg or handful of mushrooms as if you are only using tasteless Pollack as a filler surely its best left in the sea – the ultimate ethical choice. Ling, coley, bib and whiting also fit into this bracket. I guess I just can’t get my head around the incorrect use of ‘a sustainable fish’. All fish are sustainable, as are trees, whereas oil, coal and gas are exhaustible. People have to realise that the catch method or volume of capture is what should be deemed sustainable.

When you visit your fishmonger attempt to make an ethical choice – but be sure you understand what that is. You will get no help from your fishmonger on this one as most likely he has little idea or interest about the subject. You will probably get a pre-rehearsed response that helps a sale. There are few of us that really care, have the knowledge, insight and passion to understand the differences and I feel proud that I can stand and chat to interested customers openly and truthfully about the subject.


  1. That's why some fishermen were/are reluctant to support these sustainanle labels - by default every other fish without a label is therefore not sustainable - one for Seafish to address?!

  2. Great blog keep up the good work educating punters who are generally mislead by ignorant chefs and food journos