Impact of Hugh’s Fish Fight

So its been a few days now since the showing of the first episode of Hugh’s Fish Fight and the dust has perhaps settled so what has been the impact on us as fishmongers.

Well there have certainly more requests for the sustainable fish that have been highlighted. We have alway sold Coley and Pollock but have sold considerably more than in a normal week. We have also sold lots of the other fish mentioned such as Squid, Mussels, Herrings and Mackerel and it is great to see these under utilized fish being enjoyed by the consumer.

The other three species that have been asked for have been Dab (which is currently not in season), Pouting (which is not caught locally and is therefore difficult to get) and Wolf fish (which is available but most goes for export and so currently is not a cheap alternative).

On the subject of Wolf fish we sold this for many years under the name Scarborough Woof and it sold pretty well. We were then told by trading standards that we had to sell it by its given names, one of which is Catfish, and subsequently sales dropped. It just goes to show that nothing is really new.

I suppose the real impact wont be felt unless we see you the consumer making a definitive shift to these more sustainable varieties. I will not be stopping selling Cod and Haddock as they make up a large part of my business that wouldn’t be filled by these other species.  I suspect that over time our preferences for these species will return and they will continue to be the major sellers on my fish counters. What I will be doing is running promotions over the coming weeks to encourage consumers to at least try the alternatives. I suspect that if we all tried one alternative species a week it would help to ease the pressure on the more at risk species.

It has been busier in the shops over the past few days and so it just goes to show that all is not doom and gloom. I was worried that such a focus on the fish industry would have a negative effect and make consumers think twice about eating seafood but it appears the opposite has happened and it has reignited people’s interest in fish. I think the great recipes that Jamie Oliver cooked may have helped greatly with that. 

The other element that may have helped may be the fall out by the Dispatches program on Channel 4. It wasnt to flattering about the supermarket fish counters and fish products. You wont be surprised to hear that I am not a great fan of supermarket fish. I started my career in fish at an ASDA store in the early 90’s and even as an inexperienced beginner could see that supermarket philosophy didn’t really work with fish. It seems that not much has changed and I have to say that while the supermarkets do many things well I don’t think that such a specialized skill such as fishmongery is one of them.

They were pulled up on they accuracy of their labelling and by selling defrosted fish on their “fresh fish” counters. It’s just not good enough for organisations with such financial power to get this wrong and these and these alone are reasons why for really fresh fish you should always visit your local independent fish monger.

Any way I hope you come in soon and try some of the varieties of really fish we have on offer.

Cheers

Jonathan.
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