Friday, 30 October 2009

Quality over Quantity

It can be very hard finding the quality of fish that I like to sell especially on the back of a windy week. Bad weather over a weekend moves the wholesalers’ and the exporters’ bottomless pocket buying power into Tuesday and sometimes Wednesday leaving the smaller boys scrapping around for the remains. Wouldn’t it be lovely to have a demand for 52 day aged sea bass, but unfortunately this is what makes fishmongery so much more difficult than butchery – it needs to be in and out in one day. Ok by the look of some other establishments fish this is not always the case but it is certainly the principal I try to adopt.

It is, however, lovely to see, and especially on a Friday, some high quality fish from some of the most reliable boats in the fleet. The fishing port of Plymouth (the fine town where I read my fisheries science degree) now has an updated re-built busy market with a near faultless on line Dutch auction. Many boats have now chosen to land here because of the facilities. The lemon sole pictured were landed by the ever reliable Plymouth registered ‘Our Endeavour’.

Of course my favourite fish are landed into the quaint fishing port of Newlyn and although their soon to be updated market is a little dated it does have the glamour of a shout auction which gives a lovely historical feel. More importantly though is the Newlyn registered Scorpio, the most reliable Red Mullet boat in the fleet. Pristine fish (pictured) on every landing incurs much interest and huge demand.

A fish that always creates an interest are hook and line caught mackerel. “The only way to eat them is straight out of the sea” I hear. All well and good but there is not much of a coastline in London so you will have to rely on some of the St Ives registered hand-liner the ‘Janet Ann’ to supply the best in London – and they are the best!!

The skippers of these boats lead the way when it comes to looking after their catch. They clearly realise the higher the quality when reaching the market, the higher the market price. I see Icelandic lemon sole and small trawled red mullet and tiny watery Scottish mackerel (which I would be embarrassed to sell) at Billingsgate that are less than half the price, however, I never whinge when paying through the nose for the quality of fish from my favourite boats. Twice the price maybe, five times the quality certainly.


  1. I always look forward to new posts on this blog - a fascinating insight into the complexity of getting fish from the sea onto my plate.



  2. Thanks Paul. I just don't know how all the bloggers find time to churn out posts everyday?