Wednesday, 13 January 2010
A New Year, Roes and Very Poor Shows
Moving into the New Year is a testing time for us mongers. We have sub zero temperatures to endure (-7 lowest so far and we have no front door), slippery pavements, transport problems and customers watching their pennies. But the most difficult and testing part is the explaining to people that many fish are out of season. “Fish have seasons! You learn something everyday” was the most recent remark, but they do, and very distinct ones. At this time of year many round and flat fish are preparing to reproduce. The utmost effort is aimed towards the production of gametes, milt or roe, with little emphasis on flesh production. Already the good quality flatfish, such as plaice, have almost disappeared from sale. Plaice are a particularly good example as they produce huge roes that has a major detriment to the quality of the flesh. Those fishmongers that only offer line caught species such as Bass, Red Mullet and Mackerel will also see these dwindle as many fisheries will self impose a closure to protect their future stock levels. Dover Sole, and to some extent Lemon Sole, will now start to roe and only the discerning fishmongers will be selective with what they offer; for those that aren't this is a very poor show. Of course I wish it was simple but fish across vast water bodies have their own seasons so spawning species in one area may have already spawned in another area. So I suggest you ‘look at the show and avoid the roe’ as a better quality product will be your prize.