Bougeous

Bougeous

Sunday, 27 December 2015

The Wild Sea Bass Debate

This is a very interesting one.

A hugely popular fish with chefs and diners.

Scientific advice suggests is hugely overfished.

Advice from the EC was for a total 6 month ban on commercial fishing from January, advice from scientific and agencies was for more.

Result was neither.

Some small sets of closures and anglers, whom must have no impact on the fisheries especially verses pair trawlers, told to return their mostly irrelevant landings. Line catch fisherman argue their catch method is sustainable, which technically it is, however its the same stock they are taking from so any method will increase pressure on a stock that is overfished. Anyhow decisions are now made, catch bans reduced or ignored, fish will remain on the menu at stages throughout the year.

For me the interesting and confusing part is the catch data and some level of stock understanding is in place. In 1992 when a closure of the Atlantic Northwest Cod Fishery was made, far to late to avoid almost complete removal of a stock, no statistics had been available apart from less fish were caught year on year and fishing effort increased year on year. Decisions to keep fishing were based on social and economic factors and technology had been continually  improving at a staggering pace improving catches. Fishing continued relentlessly with little controlled management until the forced closure was made. The complete closure is believed to have put 40,000 people out of work. Recovery of the stocks wasn't reported until 13 years later and a study in 2010 claimed the stock had recovered to 10% of its original volume.

One would think the lessons from the Canadian experience should really be noted? We shall see if the December's decisions on the commercial bass landings are right or wrong - everyone will have a different opinion depending which sector they represent. I certainly have my opinion.

What you need to know

For many months there have been concerns over the stock status of Atlantic Wild Sea bass across the whole of the North East Atlantic (FAO 27). In October 2015, to ensure the protection of the species, the Marine Conservation Council (MCS) re graded all fisheries by all catch methods a red rated 5. Following this an initial proposal on 10th November by the European Commission for a complete commercial and recreational ban from January 1st for 6 months with then a 1 ton per vessels limit for the second six months was agreed. This would be put in place to allow the species short term recovery.

“Sea bass is a special case: real management measures for sea bass were only put in place in January 2015 and catch limits were only put in place in June 2015. The Commission is therefore building on the measures taken in 2015 to halt the dramatic decline in this important stock. Today's proposal includes a complete fishing ban for commercial vessels and recreational anglers in the first half of 2016. For the second half of 2016, the Commission is proposing a monthly one tonne catch limit for vessels targeting sea bass, and a one fish bag limit for recreational anglers. It is also proposing to maintain the closure for commercial fishing around Ireland”
European Commission;  Brussels, 10 November 2015

After a consultation meeting‎ in December lesser measures were agreed with varying bans

‎"Recreational anglers face a catch and release only period for the first half of the year followed by a one fish limit for the second half. The commercial sector will also be subject to a moratorium on fishing between February and March (not the 6 month ban proposed in November) and face restrictions to catches the rest of the year (1.5 tonne/month – not 1 tonne as proposed in November) however, this may not be enough to protect the already heavily overfished stock."
European Commission;  Brussels, December 2015

‎With the reduced measures the MCS gave the following response.

"Seabass, which has been a major focus for the UK due to its importance to both the recreational and commercial fisheries sectors, is once again in the limelight, we are concerned that too little is being done to ensure the future of this stock. We feel that the proposals are unlikely to allow the stock to meet targets of sustainable fishing by 2017 and following the next set of ICES advice (due in June 2016) if the reduction in catches has not resulted in a significant decrease in mortality then a complete moratorium on fishing for seabass should not be discounted to allow the stock to recover"
Marine Conservation Society,  December 2015

The scientific advice from ICES for catches in 2016  is to further reduce (by 47%) total landings (commercial and recreational) to no more than 541 tonnes in Total. The status of the Wild Seabass stocks in FAO 27 remain in a very precarious position and all parties need to make the correct decisions ‎with regards capture and re sale to protect the status of a very important species.

So there you have it. Too date the only statement found relating to removal of wild bass from sale was by my seafood concession at Selfridges Wild Bass Statement
This concession complies to MCS seafood ratings and will not sell red rated species. This left wild sea bass from all fisheries and catch methods no longer available for sale after the MCS new rating advice.


Sunday, 13 December 2015

Maybe the Prettiest of the Ugly Offer

Controversial statement maybe but most under utilised or low value species are pretty drab. Yes drab not dab, however that species is a great example. Flounder, grey gurnard, coley, ‎dab, megrim, ling the list goes on. These guys are rarely seen on a fishmonger slab because they just don't sell and why? because they just don't look very attractive. But there is an attractive one. More common on Northern UK markets the Norway Haddock or red fish, one of the newest members of the fresh MSC family, is quite an eye catcher. Does they eat well? Not really. Will they change the face of menus or be the new favourite of Hugh or Jamie? Possibly the latter but never the former. So what do they have to offer? Well they are a lovely colour, go well in fish soups and some fisheries hav hav sustainable certification. M

Saturday, 24 January 2015

The Beauty of Tuna

Yellow Fin Tuna

There is nothing more striking that a freshly cut piece of yellow fin tuna. With the up and coming import ban of Sri Lanka catch (the ban revolves around poor fishing practices) the Maldives, whom offer some of the finest catch in the world, will find demand for their fare on the increase. The picture below is a true pole caught yellow fin tuna (plastic spade to show size) with a piece removed to show the quality. Vastly different to vacuum pac imports. Be aware chef a lot of Mediterranean Big Eye tuna is now sold as yellow fin by wholesalers.



Monday, 3 June 2013

Mackerel is Back on the Menu



The plight of the mackerel was well documented in January when the advice of the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) changed from ‘Best Choice’ to a ‘Fish to eat occasionally’ throwing previously written sustainable menus into turmoil. This decision was influenced by the actions of the Icelandic and Faroese fishery councils who implemented a substantial increase of catch volume (+23%) well beyond the previous agreed with Norway and the EU. Initial predicted stock volumes and set Total allowable catches were calculated without consideration of this additional fishing effort which when exceeded the Total Allowable Catch by 200,000 tonnes and beyond the safe Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY) of the total stock. Although at the time the decision by the MCS was heavily criticised by industry and woefully misreported in the press (on many occasions mackerel were suggested to be endangered) I was in total agreement with the precautionary approach as to continue to promote a stock as sustainable whilst being heavily over fished would have been disastrous long term for the stock status. 

A couple of weeks ago it was announced by the MCS that after lengthy consultation a further re grade of the mackerel rating had taken place and was being implemented with immediate effect. Initial press reports, namely by the Daily Telegraph, and then used by numerous agencies and wholesalers, was yet again misleading. First reporting has suggested Mackerel caught from the UK is the only sustainable option. The concise re grade has set a 2 (still a good choice, although some aspects of its production or management could be improved) for the Cornish hand line fishery, a 3 (based on available information these species should probably not be considered sustainable at this time. Areas requiring improvement in the current production methods may be significant, or there is significant uncertainty associated with its management or stock status) for the remaining fisheries within the EU which includes all of the Scottish and Norwegian pelagic trawl fisheries and a 4 (should not be considered sustainable, and the fish is likely to have significant environmental issues associated with its production. While it may be from a deteriorating fishery, it may be one that has improved from a 5 rating, and positive actions are being taken. However, MCS would not usually recommend choosing this fish) for Icelandic and Faroes caughtstock

So the key question is “even though all these fisheries still pull from the same stock how can they now all be rated differently? Unlike the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) whom certify fisheries sustainable by the status of the stock alone the MCS use a number of weighted factors. Although heavily influenced by spawning stock biomass they also consider management, capture methods and ecological effects. Hand line catch methods result in almost zero impact to the environment and yield minute by catch levels thus the Cornish fishery is now considered ‘Best Choice’. The Cornish hand line fishery quota allocation is currently set at 1750 tonnes per year or 0.83% of the UK quota. However, one must be cautious when purchasing hand line mackerel as this premium priced product will now continue to increase in value. A volume of trawled South West mackerel are landed onto Plymouth and Brixham markets each week and there will undoubtedly be increased volumes finding its way into kitchens sold as a premium line caught fish! Unfortunately there are rogue seafood traders who are happy to trade hand to mouth instead of applying honesty and integrity. 

Conversely, the Scottish and Norwegian pelagic trawl fisheries, although not as selective as hand line, have excellent management systems in place which consider by catch, total allowable catches and closed seasons to coincide with spawning periods resulting in it being the ‘Best Alternative’ option. 

Unfortunately the Icelandic and Faroese fisheries have been shown to produce high levels of herring by catch alongside a disregard of previously set stock quotas by other parties within the fishery and a refusal to enter a long-term international management plan. As mentioned their actions may result in the mackerel stocks potentially be over fished by 200,000 tonnes per year.

So where does this leave us as wholesalers, purchasers and chefs? We would all love to have true Cornish hand line mackerel on our menus throughout the year, but in reality this is impossible. When the initial January ratings were announced one of the UK’s largest seafood wholesalers announced its “fresh Mackerel is predominantly sourced from the Cornish hand line fishery or from the ring net fishery off Chesil Beach in Dorset”. If you consider the volume of these fisheries it’s not hard to realise the claim in this statement was simply unachievable. Sadly as chefs drive to hit ever increasing GPs the cost price of Cornish Hand line mackerel may well be moving further out of reach for many. For comparison the wholesale sell price of Scottish mackerel the week of the announcement was around £5.80kg whereas the auction price of Cornish hand line mackerel on Newlyn market hit £6.60kg!! Fortunately the MCS have re classified the vast majority of the mackerel finding its way onto our markets as a yellow 3 rating ‘Best Alternative’ giving license to return them to the menu. 

The unfortunate fall out from this whole fiasco will be convincing diners, who three months ago were being told the species was endangered and should not be eaten. My key piece of advice as always is be sure your supplier is providing you with exactly what you think you are receiving and always advertise it correctly on your menu.

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Day Boats and that word 'Sustainable'

Recently I tweeted the following and unsurprisingly it sparked quite a reaction. Generally the responses were from people correcting my error. There was, of course, no error to correct as my statement was 100% correct. 

“@Chelseafish All I keep hearing is "we buy from day boats because it’s sustainable". Well I'm sorry to burst your bubble but that ain't always the case” 

Now before I discuss my statement I would like to make two points very clear so do please read and absorb these as they will clarify my stance on day boat fishing. 

1. I personally believe, after hand collection techniques, the majority of day boats fishing methods are the most ethical forms of fishing undertaken around our coast line. 
2. I personally believe, with the occasional exception, day boat fish are the freshest and most ethically sourced product available on our seafood markets. 

So there we have it, however, neither of these two points I have ever challenged. I continually hear from friends, customers, celebrity chefs and so on that day boat fish are sustainable and in some cases 100% sustainable! Are they really? Who has told you this? Is this just an assumption or can you back this up with fact? So are all day boat fish sustainable irrespective of the species or catch method? 

Allow me to set the scene. 

Off our coast line we have a couple of imaginary lines indicating fishing limits up to 12 nautical miles. Beyond this we have another line at 200 nautical miles from the coast called the exclusive economic zone. Beyond this is almost no man’s land with little to no regulation. Day boats will generally fish within this 12 mile limit due to time restrictions on returning to port or size of the vessel. Additionally boats that spend more time at sea than a day can also fish in certain areas within the 12 mile zone. Beyond the 12 mile zone quotas are bought and sold by EU flagged vessels under the rules of up take of unused quota by home based vessels. Quotas dictate the volume of each species and by catch of certain species a vessel can land over a period of time. Quotas are adjusted yearly with the use of retrospective scientific data, can be increased or decreased, and are not an indication of the sustainability of a stock biomass. In time levels will be found for each species to mirror catch volumes to the maximum sustainable yield – for many species this data is not sufficient to achieve this as yet. So all nice and easy. We know where we should fish, what we are fishing for and how much we are allowed to catch. One snag – Fish don't follow rules!!! 

Let me try and break down this very complex area. For a species biomass to be classed as sustainable it requires statistical data proving its catch volumes do not exceed its maximum sustainable yield. So immediately we have issues. 

1. The level of fishing effort on that stock biomass dictates whether it can sustain healthy levels at that current fishing volumes. Fishing method, therefore, is wholly irrelevant as too many boats fishing one stock biomass that is close too, or exceeding, its maximum sustainable yield is detrimental what ever the technique. 

2. Fish are not willing to stay in open areas or within boundaries. Fish migrate for a number of reasons and some do this across huge distances. 

Point 2 is the key to the argument. Take the stock biomass of Mackerel off Penzance for example. A study clearly showed this stock biomass split into three migrating parties were later to be found: 

A. Throughout the Irish sea, west of Ireland and West of Scotland as far as Shetland 
B. Along the south coast of England and the North Coast of France and in the Bay of Biscay 
C. In the Celtic Sea 

Therefore our line catching mackerel fisherman in Cornwall, whom everybody tells me is sustainable because he catches from a day boat, could as likely be increasing the pressure on the stock that is heavily fished in all the aforementioned migratory areas. It is not his fault that his beloved mackerel are also being targeted by Spanish, French or Scottish pair trawlers, but it is happening and there is nothing he can do about it. Until the complete fishing effort upon a stock is understood no claim by any one part of a fishing fleet on any one part of the migratory root can hail sustainability. The same scenario is relevant to many other migratory species such Cod, Haddock, Hake, Plaice, bass, Pollack, Coley, Sole and so on. 

Love or hate what the MSC do they actually calculate and award fisheries a sustainable status after accessing the complete migratory biomass. Each element of the effort on that biomass needs to submit catch data over a set period to offer any chance of MSC accreditation. This is why there are so few UK accredited fisheries as accreditation is so complex and on many sections of the migratory route the is insufficient data or fleets are unwilling to collate and submit catch data. All other organisations that give sustainable ratings such as the MCS, Mont Aquarium, GoodFish BadFish and Red List use MSC as a basis before giving advice. 

So let me conclude this with some key words 

Freshness (the most important word used when ascertaining fish quality) 
Day boats yield and offer some of the freshest fish available on the market today, fact. 

Line Caught 
Few species are commercially line caught in volumes by day boats. These include Mackerel, Bass and Pollack. To my knowledge there are NO UK line caught red mullet, haddock, flatfish, Dory, cod (in volume) or coley fleets. Do not get hand line or pole and line confused with long –line. 

Day Boat 
Many methods of capture are used by day boats including Line, Pots, Gill net, Trammel nets, Pelagic trawls, Dredge, Purse seine to name the most common. All have some level of by catch and some are substantially more ethical than others. 

Ethical 
In my opinion the best way to describe how your day boat fish is sourced. Day boat fishing methods, in most cases, cause lesser impact on the environment around the target species. 

Sustainable 
The most over and incorrectly used term with regards to any fish or fishery. Fishing method or target species is NOT the indication of sustainability. Total fishing pressure on a migratory stock biomass is. 

I think once everybody understands the complexity of this science they might start applying the word sustainable correctly. It is NOT a sales term to put on your blackboard or for a fishmonger or wholesaler to use to make a sale, its a serious subject. If you are unsure do not use it as all you are doing is potentially misleading the diner.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

UK MSC Fisheries

I've just finished collating information for a report on UK MSC fisheries (wetfish only) for a customer and it makes interesting reading. They are determine to use only line caught British MSC accredited fish and will hear no different to this master plan of thiers.

Unfortunately the one snag to this plan is there are a total of only 15 accredited fisheries

1 Dover Sole
1 Coley
1 Cod
1 Haddock
1 Sardine
5 herring
5 Mackerel

One of the mackerel fisheries has an element of their fleet as hand liners (less than 40%) other than that the other 14.5 fisheries are trawled.

Should make for an interesting meeting, wish me luck.

Monday, 2 July 2012

I Bloody Love Brill

I'm always asked 'what is your favourite fish to eat?'. Well that's always a tough one as halibut, wild sea trout and wild gilt head bream are always strong favourites, however, brill always tickles my taste buds. Brill is a fabulous fish to look at, to talk about, to work with, to cook with and of course to eat. My very favourite brill recipe involves cooking with red wine *eye lids raised*. Yes I know its not 'correct' to cook white fish in rouge but a robust red adds colour and richness and really does work.

Fillets of Brill in Red Wine

My good friends at Newlyn Fish Company were kind enough to send me a fantastic 900grm brill, a good size for two, and after much hacking I managed to get two acceptable fillets from the fish (scaled first).



Ingredients (serves 2) Preheat oven at 180c/gas mark 4

2 Fillets of brill
100ml Fish stock
100ml Red Wine
75grm Butter
60grm sliced Shallots
salt and pepper

For this you need a nice big flame-proof dish in which the fillets will not overlap. Grease the dish with butter, lay in the shallots, season the fillets well and lay them on the shallots. You can either have the fillets skinned or have the skin scaled depending on if you are partial to skin or not. Pour in the red wine and fish stock, cover and bring to just below boiling point.



Once the liquid has reached just below boiling point remove from stove and place into the top of the pre heated oven for 6-8 minutes until the brill is just cooked.



Remove the fillets and shallots gently onto warmed plates and return the flame proof dish to the hob and boil the remaining liquid rapidly until reduced by half. Whisk in a few small pieces of diced butter until you have a smooth shiny sauce. Split all evenly and maybe serve with some Jersey royals and seasonal veg.


Ok my presentation is much but taste wise its a beautiful dish and well worth a try.


Saturday, 9 June 2012

Wild Mediterranean Prawns - Rosso, Rosa & Mazzancolle

Langoustines aside I believe only two types of wild prawns have passed my Northern Hemisphere lips. These are the good old cooked and peeled North Atlantic prawn and the small Dorset or Cornish shrimp. I was lucky to try a few whilst in Australia, however, even a number on sale there, branded as wild caught, were actually farmed. Farmed prawns vary drastically in flavour and texture. Huge numbers are imported from Asia as farmed frozen products and in reality the cheaper they are the worst they are. The very cheap black tiger prawns are normally tasteless, generally powdery in texture and more often than not have glaze levels equal or just below the net weight of the product; not great value, but they have their place. There are a number of refreshed products one sees on a fishmonger’s slab which mostly derive from Ecuador. These are of a higher quality than the generic farmed frozen product and commonly offer much more flavour. I regularly see these, especially the larger black stripped variety, labelled as wild Madagascan prawns which they certainly are not. In reality wild caught prawns are difficult to come by in the UK as we just don’t have any off our shores. With regards to raw products 'fresh versus frozen or refreshed' be assured there are none. Prawns suffer from black spotting (melanisation) on the shell which occurs almost immediately after the prawn dies so freezing is an essential option. Be aware black spot is harmless and only affects the appearance of the prawns. Over the past few months many customers at Southbank Fish have been asking me to supply them Sicilian Red Prawns. It has taken a while to source a quality product but finally we have achieved that goal. And not only did those famous Red prawns appear, but also some small pink ones and larger stripy versions – all wild, all beautiful and all needed tasting.


Red Prawn Gambero Rosso (Aristaeomorpha foliacea
Pink Prawn Gambero Rosa (Parapenaeus longirostris
Striped Prawn Mazzancolle (Penaeus Kerathurus

All Three species are wild caught in the Mediterranean within F.A.O Fishing Area 37. The Mazzancolle are caught very specifically from F.A.O 37.1 which stretches from Gibraltar to Sicily. This catchment area explains the love of these prawns by the Spanish who know them as El Camaron. The reds and pinks are sourced throughout F.A.O 37.1/37.2/37.3 MEDITERRANEAN SEA (Major Fishing Area 37) 

For initial tasting I poached all the prawns in unsalted water. My theory was to try each prawn for its natural taste alone.

Red Prawn Gambero Rosso (Aristaeomorpha foliacea)





As expected the Gambero Rosso were just spectacular. The colour is so striking they seem somewhat unreal. We are all used to a green prawn which when cooked turns a shade of pink but these prawns start a deep red and hardly change colour after cooking. I poached them for just over 1 minute and allowed them to cool naturally and wow a super sweet prawn with or without the shell. The texture was fabulous, the colour was amazing and the taste was historic. Of course these come at a price but when there are so many cheap farmed products around they really stand out in the crowd.

DSTRKT Chefs (Rupert Street, Soho) Sicilian red prawns, truffled polenta, salsa fresca

So where can one currently sample these prawns? Well let me throw a few names of those I supply with Gambero Rosso and one might just take your fancy.

DSTRKT 9 Rupert Street, W1D 6DG London  Website
Aurelia 13-14 Cork Street, Mayfair, London W1S 3NS Website
Menulla 10 Charlotte Street, London W1T 2LT Website
The Table 83 Southwark Street, London, SE1 0HX Website
Duck Soup 41 Dean Street, London, W1D 4PY Website
Chelsea Fishmonger 10 Cale Street, London SW3 3QU Website

Pink Prawn Gambero Rosa (Parapenaeus longirostris)




The small Gambero Rosa were very different to the Rosso. Visually they were not as striking, however they were a very nice looking soft pink in colour. Quality wise, once defrosted, they were not quite as good as the Rosso but this is common with smaller prawns and sizes of green refreshed prawns 60/80 or smaller always suffer with softness and detached heads. As with the Rosso I poached them but this time for just under 1 minute. As a poached product in plain water they were nice but not amazing. A good pinch of salt would certainly aid the flavour. But wait - when fried in a small amount of hot olive oil and eaten shell on everything changed. A wonderful taste with the added crunch of a crisp shell and suddenly a very different conclusion; I could eat these all day. Additionally the Rosso were fabulous fried.


Rosso & Rosa lightly fried in extra virgin olive oil

Striped Prawn Mazzancolle (Penaeus Kerathurus)



I recently had a twitter conversation with a fishmonger about these prawns whom said that a Spanish customer of his was adamant they are the best prawn caught in the Mediterranean. He could well be right. Simply poached for 3 minutes they were stunning. Great looking prawns, meaty, juicy and so flavoursome. Being slightly bigger than the other two prawns they cope with the freezing process slightly better. The product also has a light ice glaze which protects the product when frozen. You may have noticed from the photo of the Rosa that they looked a little dry when raw. This is a result of freezing with no glaze.

So which was the best? A very hard one to be honest as they are all unique. Sitting in a restaurant I would like to have the Rosso placed in front of me. A simple but visually fantastic dish can be produced with these prawns and if a chef is attempting to turn the heads of his diners the Rosso is a no brainer. They also taste amazing so maybe they come out on top, but I can't help but consider the Mazzancolle which were incredible. Sadly the Rosa seem to dry a little as a result of the freezing process.

Southbank Fresh Fish
020 7639 6000

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Talking Fish & Hastings Day Boat Turbot

I’m obsessed with accuracy and attention to detail which on many occasions looses me the chance of a sale or the winning of a restaurant’s contract. You may be thinking this is a strange statement but businesses solely look for the cheapest price and will accept what they are told if they get it. By trade I am not a salesman, I’m a fisheries scientist, and being fact driven is how I have evolved. Some might suggest I am now in the wrong position (as a salesman), however I am meeting more and more chefs and restaurateurs whom really want to learn about their seafood. They are putting a much higher value on the service of factually correct and educational information. No longer is a box with fish delivered at a cheap price enough – the business model has evolved and places are opening up for people like myself with an honest passion and knowledge for fish and seafood. Us as consumers rely upon the menu writer, the front of house/waiting staff or the chef to serve us high quality food coupled with information about the meal itself and its noticeable fish and seafood finds itself at the very top of the agenda.

Recently I have been lucky enough to see some particularly special fish caught by small English South Coast day boats. I do hear this phrase ‘Day Boat’ used nearly as often as ‘Sustainable’ and like the latter it can be used in the wrong context. I guess it is easy to write either of these two statements if it is the information that has been passed on. In reality Day boat fish are commonly stunning in quality and sometimes have a price to match. This week our depot has been receiving fabulous fish out of Hastings with Brill, Plaice and MSC Dovers to name a few. However, the most remarkable fish on show were the Turbot. The nature of a Turbot, being a benthic inhabitant, means it is commonly captured by more aggressive bottom beam trawl methods; additionally they can be captured by mid water pelagic otters trawls. Neither methods are associated with day boats so when such a beast as the 8.2kg fish pictured below arrived the quality, compared to many beamer caught turbot, was so remarkable I had to share it with you all.






Tuesday, 24 January 2012

It's Not Just Cod, Its Skrei Cod

I’ve seen some good looking fish in my time but today I saw something very special. Now you may roll your eyes if tell you it was cod “what’s special about that? everyone has seen a cod?”. And how true that is, everyone has seen a cod, especially me, however this is any old cod, this is a Norwegian delicacy cod, this is ‘Skrei’.

What first catches the eye about a Skrei cod is its colour. A very very dark top skin, glistening in the artificial light as the ice melts and runs down the flank. 



Then the striking deep green of the body becomes apparent – just hypnotic. A prod and a poke and suspicions are confirmed; the flesh is as firm as when it left the sea on the end of a Norwegian fisherman’s line. 



As the blocksman removes the fillets for a yield test of the first batch the beautiful large white flaked flesh was exposed. This was turning into fish porn!



So what is Skrei cod?

Well as you may have already gathered it’s a Norwegian line caught cod which is targeted only by small day boat fisheries. Due to the immense volume and the short term migration Skrei is there only for taking between January and March. For me the importance of this product is that it is one of the few Marine Stewardship Council’s (MSC) accredited species that arrive at market in exceptional condition and competitively priced. Condition is so important to the fisherman that only fish without skin blemishes can be packed and sent as Skrei (Unfortunately since the supermarkets have jumped on the ‘Brand mark’ bandwagon they have forced the price of many of our local sustainably caught species which then usually arrive to the counters in less than perfect condition). Additionally Skrei is supported by the World Wildlife Fund and remember when buying true Skrei will have the tag attached to the forward dorsal fin or the fillet should come with this reference.



There are a few articles on the internet explaining the Skrei phenomenon in more detail with this being probably the best

Skrei, the Norwegian miracle

Additionally if you can lay your hands on a copy of January’s edition of ‘Restaurant’ magazine there is a superb article on page 42.


I couldn't help but put a picture of my hair net on :-)