The Billingsgate Gossip
13th March 2015
Catch of the Day - get on board!
As an island nation, there is a temptation to take the seas around us for granted and forget that those waters provide a vital source of food, employment and contribution to the national economy. Yet the UK fishing industry lands 624,000 tonnes of fish every year, enough for millions of healthy and wholesome meals, and generates an annual income of £718m.
When we're doing our weekly food shop, the variety of fresh fish sourced from UK waters available over the counter is just the end result of the efforts of the 12,150 British fishermen working at sea. It is not only evidence of the hard work of the fishermen who caught the fish – but also the producer organisations, suppliers and trade bodies involved in ensuring there is a constant supply of sustainably sourced fish on our counters.
There is a common misperception that it is just the large trawler boats which supply us with fresh fish. The truth is that the UK has a diverse fishing fleet and smaller boats like my own are just as important for the supply of this sustainable food source.
As a fisherman myself, I have seen the industry evolve over the past 40 years with consumers and chefs becoming more adventurous with their choices of fish, although the UK's top three choices are still unsurprisingly cod, haddock and salmon. Over 50% of us eat seafood at least once a week, but perhaps it's time we were more adventurous with our choice of fish – with species such as Hake and Plaice sourced from UK waters, available in our supermarkets.
Anyone involved in the fishing industry knows that it can be risky and hazardous. Despite all the improvements in safety and technology, the sea is still an extremely dangerous, unpredictable and often not- too- friendly workplace! You only have to watch the rescue helicopter footage of the UK's youngest fishing boat skipper, 16 year old Jake Bowman-Davies shepherding his crew into a life-raft as his 50ft crabbing boat, the Cresca, sank at night in high seas off the Llyn Peninsula in February, to appreciate that.
For all these reasons, the NFFO is launching a week long Twitter campaign called #CatchOfTheDay, to champion the hard work and diversity of the UK fishing industry. It is also to open consumers' eyes to the breadth of species of this healthy food choice that is available.
To download your I'm on board sign please click here!!!
Simply print out the sign and grab a picture with it infront of your daily fish counter and upload to twitter witht the hashtag #CatchOFTheDay to show your support for out great industry, and the people who make it possible!
9th March 2015
It's not superficial, it's superfishoil!
In today's supermarket aisles, eateries and food service establishments consumers have many options and choices, often between high-in fat superficial foods and naturally farmed or caught products from our countries seas, lochs or estuaries.
As we all know, seafood is a rich ingredient and a fantastic source of vitamins, minerals and long-chain Omega-3 fatty acids which boost brainpower in both adults and developing babies, keeps hearts healthy and much more - because it's not superficial, it's superfishoil.
Superfishoil, the new campaign from Fish is the Dish, Seafish's consumer brand aims to help raise awareness among consumers around seafood as a healthier option for meals and snacks compared with other takeaways as well as assist shoppers to make more informed choices.
As well as promote the health benefits of oil rich fish, the Superfishoil campaign, aims to tackle obstacles of seafood consumption that consumers feel they face. According to insight research from Sainbury's Future Foundation this includes price, recipe knowledge, the availability of fresh fish at local supermarkets and time to prepare from scratch. Throughout February and March we will encourage consumers to choose seafood dishes that are nutritious, tasty and simple to make with a variety of recipes and competitions on the Fish is the Dish website, along with a great Superfishoil giveaway.
Promotions will be taking place through Facebook and Twitter to over 50,000 followers and fans, with advertising taking place in Good Food magazine, Guardian Weekend magazine and the Daily Mail as well as on STV.
We have already been in selected Morrison's stores across the UK encouraging shoppers to try different varieties of mackerel and to carry on this theme, throughout February, we will be supporting Regal Fish, a seafood delivery service. Regal will be delivering mackerel samples to selected customers throughout England and the North Wales border who haven't tried it before. We will then use follow-up research to find out if trying the sample has encouraged them to buy more fish in the future.
Then, towards the end of March, we will be engaging with street food vendors in central London to provide the general public with samples of a variety of seafood species that they may not usually purchase. Each customer will be given a Fish is the Dish pack, including information on omega-3 and suggested recipes.
The aim of these partnerships is to encourage consumers to include more seafood in their diets whilst also raising awareness about the health benefits of Omega 3 or 'Superfishoil'.
Mel Groundsell, Corporate Relations Director, Seafish comments: "By changing consumer's attitudes to seafood, we are hoping to encourage more people to sample seafood, making their first choice as a fast, healthy, delicious option. "
For more information on Fish is the Dish and how to introduce more fish into your diet, contact Heather Middleton on 0131 524 691 or follow @fishisthedish.
18th December 2014
Seafish Information on Live Shellfish
Seafish works closely with all sectors in the seafood supply chain, and supports our stakeholders in their challenges, as part of our aim to securing a sustainable and profitable future for the industry. Recently, there has been increased scrutiny of industry handling of bivalve molluscs.
For some time, we have been working closely with shellfish harvesters and producers, and representatives of the Food Standards Agency (FSA) on the issues around the safe supply of oysters and live bivalve molluscs to the UK consumer. As you may be aware, the FSA is at present running a project in the UK with the title ‘Norovirus contamination in oysters (and fresh produce) on retail sale and in the commercial catering environment’.
During a recent pilot, as part of the above FSA project, the team carrying out the investigations on the above types of premises found that less than 10% were able to produce the necessary documentation, in the form of Health Certificates (Identification Marks), that they are required by law to retain on receipt of the products. The legislation around the retention of Heath Marks states that: “…The retailer must keep the label attached to the packaging of live bivalve molluscs that are not in individual consumer size packages for at least 60 days after splitting up the contents.”
We would therefore encourage you to ensure that you obtain and retain all Health Certificates (Identity Marks) pertaining to acquisition of live bivalve molluscs. We feel confident that the eventual outcome of this project will show that those operating within the UK seafood supply chain are doing so with due diligence and care, but the findings of the pilot study present an opportunity to remind you of this requirement.
Our team is here to help and support you in any way they can. Please visit our website: www.seafish.org to keep up to date with developments in the industry, and to find contact details for members of our team.
28th November 2014
Channel 4 Show
A four part series will air on Channel 4 in January which deals with health, weight loss and the financial implications of maintaining a healthy lifestyle vs an unhealthy lifestyle.
They would love to get three or four Manchester based fishmongers to take part in one of our 'focus groups' which road tests a high street diet. The diet itself is a surprise, they find out which one it is when they present it to them, and they simply give their feedback on the diet once they've tried it. It would only be for about a week or so and would really suit someone who may wish to lose a few pounds before the festive season.
Filming will be in the Manchester area and will take approximately 3 hours on the 1st December and 2 hours on the 9th December. Anyone wishing to take part can contact Louise Dodsworth at email@example.com or 0207 874 6645.
25th November 2014
Location: Claygate, Surrey
Hours per week: circa 40 (8am to 5pm, Tuesday to Saturday)
Salary: £15,000 - £17,000 per annum (depending on experience)
Annual leave entitlement: 20 days per annum
We are looking for a dedicated fishmonger with the right attitude to join our team in Claygate. At Williams and Bunkell, we are highly skilled fishmongers who pride ourselves on our reputation. We provide the highest quality fish, are passionate about what we do, and always put our customers first. No formal qualifications are needed for this role and full training will be given.
Skills needed for this role include:
*Experience working in a customer facing role
*Attention to detail
*Ability to deal with complaints in a professional and tactful manner
*Ability to cope under pressure
*A full driving license *Good communication and interpersonal skills
*Physical stamina (you will be working in cold and damp conditions and be on your feet all day)
*Experience in a fishmonger's or similar environment, eg: fish or shellfish retail sector
*Experience working in catering
*Experience filleting and preparing fish
*Good knife skills
*Be the first point of contact for all customers to the shop, ensuring they receive excellent customer service
*Arrange the front display every morning and tidy it away at the end of the day
*Descaling fish, removing bones, gutting and cleaning
*Weighing, packaging and portioning fish
*Be able to give customers advice on different fish, which cuts to use, how to cook it and how to store it
*Ensure that all products are stored properly
*Undertake occasional deliveries in the local area
*Clean all tools properly
*Ensure that preparation and display is of the highest standard
*Treat customers with respect
*Have a positive attitude and be willing to learn about the products we sell
*Be flexible – you may be required to work in our Horsell shop (opening early 2015) from time to time during busy periods
*Be prepared to work on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve – our two busiest times of the year
How to apply:
Please send your CV with a covering letter explaining why you'd like to work for us, to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Deadline for applications: Sunday 14 December 2014. If your application is successful, you'll be invited to an interview and will undertake a short practical test.
12th November 2014
Fish and Shellfish Industry Skills Qualification
UKRS Training would like to invite you to attend a road show, to discuss the benefits of the new and exciting Fish and Shellfish Industry Skills Qualifications and the benefits to you the employer and your employees. By consulting closely with Seafood Employers, Seafish have been able to develop a qualification which is flexible enough to raise the skills and performance of employees across the entire seafood industry. The new Fish and Shellfish Qualifications have been designed to meet the needs of employers now, and to help produce the technicians and managers of tomorrow. Please click here to read more. Fish and Shellfish Industry Skills Qualification
30th September 2014
Following the recent release of scientific advice, primarily from the International Centre of the Sea (ICES) (stock advice), the MCS have updated their sustainable seafood ratings - available at FishOnline - www.fishonline.org. Please click here to view a summary of the changes to ratings. Ratings Summer 2014 PDF
19th September 2014
Food Fight Club
Although there is over a 60 year age gap, the passion for the fish trade is as strong in both Mr Charlie Caisey MBE (Past President) abd Mr George Hooper (Youngest Council Member in the 82 history of the NFF)
They were invited along for the filming of The Food Fight Club, on Southend Pier, which will be aired in January on Channel 4.
Meeting with Jamie Oliver and Jimmy Doherty for their latest programme, they had many ideas from digging deep into their expert skills and knowledge, to help the filming team with the show - which focuses on how to get the most out of the whole fish, utilising the whole fish included cooking the tongues, the heads of prawns and more, focusing on great quality purchases from an Independent Fish Retailer!
It is rumoured that Mr Tush Hamilton (NFF Council Member) has also been involved in the programme, I guess we will have to wait until January to see!
Retirement sale of thriving mobile fishmongers business, established for over 40 years with a residential customer base in excess of 200, 4 Day trading mainly in Ipswich with 1 day in Felixstowe.
The turnover is in excess of £50,000 with very good margins. For further information please contact Steve on 07808 309908 or 01473 788215.
4th September 2014
Full results of the 2014 British Fish Craft Championships are available now, please click here to view!
4th September 2014
The Great British fishmonger comeback
Taken from SeafoodSource.com
There was quite the buzz when a new fishmonger opened its doors in my quiet corner of London a few weeks ago. The main reason for the fervor was that it's the first time in 20 years that our modest high street has a wet fish shop to call its own. But this seafood start-up isn't a speculative one-off — new independent fishmongers have been popping up all over the country, tapping into the growing interest consumers are showing for the food that they eat and the not-unrelated swing in favor of U.K. produce.
The U.K. fishmonger trade currently comprises around 950 independent operations that vary from traditional fish shops to farmer's market stalls and mobile traders. It's estimated their collective market share is around GBP 250 million (USD 416.2 million, EUR 313.2 million) annually.
While the number of independents is significantly lower than the industry's heyday in the late 1940s when there were between 7,000 and 8,000 fishmongers, the National Federation of Fishmongers (NFF) confirmed that new blood is most definitely coming into the sector. The federation also told SeafoodSource that while there have been more new businesses opening in London — a trend that is mainly attributable to the size of the capital — the fishmonger trade is growing in many regions.
"Up until three or four years ago, fishmongers were on a steady decline with the number of people retiring outweighing the number of new entrants. But now it has swung the other way. There are more new entrants, including more young people, joining the trade," said Tim Silverthorne, past-president of the NFF and a retired fourth-generation fishmonger. "Probably for every five retirees, there are six new openings. Of course, that's not a massive difference, but it's still a very encouraging turnaround."
Silverthorne also points out that while traditional fishmonger numbers are but a fraction of what they were 60 or 70 years ago, the supermarket boom that has taken place during this same period has seen many fish counters opened within superstores. Therefore, when combined with the independents, there is still something like 2,000 wet fish counters in operation today, he said.
As a trade body, the NFF represents and provides product liability insurance for about half the independent fishmongers in the country. These businesses tend to specialize at the upper-end of the market, selling chilled, fresh seafood rather than the frozen and defrosted products favored by most of the multiples. They are, therefore, more likely to source their fish from local fishermen or U.K. wholesale fish markets. My fishmonger, for example, gets all his fish from nearby Billingsgate Market.
And while it's widely accepted that independents cannot compete with the buying power of the supermarket giants, the price chasm is not as wide as it once was.
"Supermarkets are not as cheap as they were with their fish, their prices have been creeping up. Yes, they can deliver fantastic offers on farmed salmon and seabass and undercut fishmongers because they buy these species in such large quantities. But I monitor supermarket prices on behalf of the federation and even their farmed salmon is not that cheap nowadays. Independent fishmongers can compete with many of them," said Silverthorne.
He further believes that supermarkets find fresh fish more challenging than most other food categories. This, he said, presents a clear opportunity for independent fishmongers to prove their worth: by sourcing a good selection of top-quality fresh fish and then encouraging trade through the door with good service, personality and specialist product knowledge.
In the introduction to his bestselling book "Floyd on Fish," published in 1985, the celebrity chef Keith Floyd (1943-2009) wrote that the U.K. population's declining consumption of fresh fish was directly attributable to traditional fish shops becoming "a thing of the past," and that "it's our fault for not encouraging the fishmongers." With fishmongering now staging a comeback, there will be high hopes for a boost in fresh fish sales too.
read more at http://www.seafoodsource.com/
27th August 2014
Another great article from Fish Update...
CARDIFF fishmonger E Ashton Ltd almost swept the board at the 2014 British Fish Craft Championships at the weekend.
Staff from the 200-year-old Welsh fish business took first, second and third place as this unique contest came to the Grimsby area for the first time, taking over part of the beach at nearby Cleethorpes.
The overall champion was Kevin Todd, with Mike Crates, who won it last year coming second and Nick Wood, also a previous winner, taking third spot.
There was also family delight for Gary Hooper, a former past president of the National Federation of Fishmongers, which organises the three day contest.
His 18-year-old son George, who trains fishmongers for Tesco, took fourth spot. Gary, who is the contest organiser, told Fish Update: 'I felt very proud for George.'
E Ashton Ltd, which declares itself as a proud member of the Federation, was established in Cardiff in 1800, and has been in the city's Central Market since 1890.
Up until 1973 the business was owned and run by the Ashton family, when it was acquired by the Adams family. It has only had three owners since in its 200-year history.
Hooper said: 'This is the first time we have come to the Grimsby and we were delighted with the turnout.
'The weather was also kind to us. Hundreds of people came to watch throughout Sunday and were more than impressed with what they saw.
'Many of them were visitors to Cleethorpes so it was good to be able to show off our craft and what fish is all about.'
The championships will be returning to the area next year for the World Seafood Congress, which is being held in Grimsby.
'We haven't finally decided if we will stage it in Grimsby or Cleethorpes', added Hooper. 'But judging by the success of this year I think we may well keep it in Cleethorpes. We enjoyed a very successful weekend.'
See more at http://www.fishupdate.com/cardiff-fishmonger-crowned-best-in-britain/
15th July 2014Knives out for Grimsby seafood contest
A great article taken from this week's fish update......
Scores of men wielding sharp knives will be invading the Grimsby area over the August holiday weekend.
But there is no need to worry as they are all competitors taking part in the annual British Fish Craft Championships which is being held in the neighbouring resort of Cleethorpes.
The contestants will be dazzling spectators with their speed and skills in filleting and preparing fish. The event attracts hundreds of competitors and spectators and is a major coup for the resort. It will also be coming back to the area in 2015 when it coincides with the World Seafood Congress being held in Grimsby.
The championships bring together Britain's best fishmongers – from independent shops to supermarket chains - to test their skills, speed and accuracy as they compete to win the title of British Fish Craft Champion. It is organised by the National Federation of Fishmongers and has been running for more than 60 years.
Previous venues have included London's Billingsgate Fish Market, Brixham in Devon and the BBC Good Food Show. When it was held in Cardiff last year it attracted more than 40,000 visitors and the organisers are hoping similar numbers will be coming to Cleethorpes.
The championships will also have a carnival atmosphere with a host of fun and festivities around the resort over the weekend, including street cookery demonstrations, entertainers, market stalls on the promenade and the annual Classic Car and Vintage Festival at Meridian Park Showground.
There may even be an attempt to enter the Guinness Book of Records by creating the world's largest fish finger. Sponsors North East Lincolnshire Council said the three day event will also give the opportunity for North East Lincolnshire to showcase its thriving seafood industry and proud fishing heritage.
The main competition sponsors this year are Tesco and Young's Seafood of Grimsby.
The contest is open to anyone involved in the fish, poultry or game trade, the competitions test the skills that are necessary in the preparation of fish and poultry in readiness for use by the final consumer.
Those skills normally provided free of charge by fishmongers when selling fish to the general public. The judges are all experienced fishmongers and the competitors will be judged on presentation, general appearance, hygiene and performance.
Steve Norton, chief executive of the Grimsby Fish Merchants Association, said: "It is good that this prestige event is coming to Grimsby, the UK's centre of seafood excellence for the first time."
The programme includes:-
- Saturday August 23rd , 10am to 6pm filleting and cooking demonstrations
- Sunday August 24th , 8.30am to 7pm competition and crowning of the British Fish Craft Champion.
- Monday August 25th , from 10am filleting and cooking demonstrations.
19th May 2014Cromer and Sheringham Crab and Lobster Festival
The weather couldn't have been better for Immediate Past President Mr Gary Hooper to conduct Fish Filleting and Cooked Shellfish Demonstrations at this year's Cromer and Sheringham Crab and Lobster Festival last weekend, representing and promoting the members of the National Federation of Fishmongers, a great turnout and a busy weekend!
30th April 2014RNMDSF award
Mr Gary Hooper was recently awarded the award for Outstanding Contribution towards to the Royal National Mission to Deep Sea Fishermen.
The Royal National Mission to Deep Sea Fishermen plays an important role in the safety of all mariners at sea and on-shore.
Gary has supported the RNMDSF over many years and promoted the work the Mission does for local fishing communities all over the UK
28th April 2014Foodex
Mr Gary Hooper recently attended the Foodex exhibition, representing the Seafood Industry, to answer questions from members of the general public in an open forum, facilitated by Mr Michael Portillo, on the future challenges facing the food and drink industry to help raise consumer awareness.
27th April 2014Competition Accommodation
We are currently finalising the content for each of this year competition, with the latest committee meeting to be held tomorrow, 28th April, with complete information and entry forms to follow very soon!
This year's competition is to be held in Grimsby, and to give all competitors a head start we have compiled a list of the hotels in and around the area;
Humber Royal Hotel - 01472 240024 email@example.com
Littlecoates Road, Grimsby, DN34 4LX
The Burlington Hotel - 01472 693155 www.theburlingtonhotel.co.uk
Oaklands Hall Hotel - 01472 872248 www.oaklandshallhotel.co.uk
Premier Inn - 0871 5278478 www.premierinn.com
The Beeches Hotel - 01472 278830 www.thebeecheshotel.com
26th April 2014Fish Friday 20th June 2014
Immediate Past President Mr Gary Hooper,along with Mr George Hooper recently helped to launch the run up to this year's Fish Friday - the biggest national fundraising day for the Fishermen's Mission
Find out more about this very worthy cause, as what you can do to get involved by clicking here Fish Friday 2014
9th March 2014Numbers of Independant Fishmongers increase by 28%
A report in the Daily mail this week shows a surge in numbers of independant retailers in high streets across the UK are increasing. Read the full story on the MailOnline website here....
Fishmongers and bakers are back: Foodie demand sees 25% rise in independent food merchants on High Streets
10th March 2014Birmingham Bullring Fishmongers Championship
The first ever Birmingham Bullring Fishmongers Championship took place in the heart of Birmingham at the famous Bullring Indoor Market on the 18th February 2013, the championship brought together local fishmongers in a test of their skills. The championship celebrates and showcases the skill
and talent of Birmingham's fishmongers and it's seafood heritage with Both the winner and runner-up given free entry to this year's British Fish Craft Championships® thanks to The National Federation of
The winner of best fish and seafood display was A.J Barlow Ltd
Winner of Knife Skills was Mark Owens from A.J Barlow Ltd
Runner up was Graham from Tom Fields
Competitors chose from;
Birmingham Bullring Best Fish and Seafood Display
Fishmongers will create their best displays of local and exotic fish and seafood.
1st Prize. Trophy and Title
Birmingham Bullring Fishmonger Champion
Several fishmongers will battle it out for the title through a series of knife skill tests. Fishmongers will be judged on their speed and accuracy.
1st Prize. Trophy and title + £50 cash
Runner-up Prize. Dinner for two at a local restaurant
The event had a good turnout in it's first year with former British Fishcraft Champion and NFF guest judge Dave Bennett enjoying the level of skills on display at the competition
9th March 2014
Wanted Amateur Artists!
3rd March 2014A Rare Opportunity
From one of our members - Fowey Fish - For Sale - Long established Retail, Wholesale and Mail Order Fishmongers.
Freehold 3 Storey Retail/Residential premises. Good trading figures. Located in Cornwall, prime retail high street, with 4 Bedroom self contained Maisonette. Rare opportunity. Find out more by clicking here.....
4th February 2014NFF Annual General Meeting 3rd February
The Annual General Meeting of the National Federation of Fishmongers was held yesterday at Fishmongers Hall, London.
Mr Jonathan Adams was unanimously relected to continue on for his second term as President.
The National Federation of Fishmongers also is proud to announce two new members onto the committee - Mr George Hooper and Mr Gareth Hughes, unanimously elected.
2nd January 2014British Fish Craft Championship Moves to Grimsby - an article from the Grimsby Telegraph
GRIMSBY is to welcome a major seafood competition for the first time ever.
The British Fish Craft Championship has been caught by North East Lincolnshire Council for 2014 and 2015, with hopes to extend its stay in the borough further.
The competition, planned for August Bank Holiday, brings together Britain's best fishmongers, from independent shops and supermarket chains, to test their skills, speed and accuracy as they compete to win the title of British Fish Craft Champion.
Organised by the National Federation of Fishmongers, it is seen as a perfect way to demonstrate the town's thriving seafood industry and proud fishing heritage, with proposals to get local producers also competing.
Councillor Chris Shaw, leader of North East Lincolnshire Council, said: "It's fitting that we've landed this supreme catch for the borough for the next two years and hopefully more.
"With more than 70 per cent of seafood consumed in the UK processed here, North East Lincolnshire is the perfect setting for the prestigious championships and I'd like to thank the National Federation of Fishmongers for choosing Grimsby to host the competition.
"It's another major seafood event lined up for the town as we also look forward to hosting the Humber Seafood Summit in September and the World Seafood Congress in 2015.
"The championships give independent fishmongers, processors, supermarkets and wholesalers the chance to showcase their talents and I'm very much looking forward to tucking into some of the delights they'll be serving up."
Open to anyone involved in the fish, poultry or game trade, traditionally also handled by fishmongers, individual heats test the skills that are necessary in the preparation of fish and poultry in readiness for use by the consumer.
The judges are all experienced fishmongers and the competitors will be judged on presentation, general appearance, hygiene and performance.
Gary Hooper, immediate past president of the National Federation of Fishmongers, said: "We are delighted to have been invited to hold the British Fish Craft Championships in Grimsby for the next two years.
"This will be the first time this prestigious event has taken place in what is viewed by many as the home of British fish and we are looking forward to a warm welcome. We are also really excited to be working alongside North East Lincolnshire Council who will be sponsoring the event for the first time."
Other sponsors are drawn from the retail sector and the seafood industry.
Jason Longhurst, head of development services at NELC, added: "North East Lincolnshire is home to one of the largest concentrations of food manufacturing, research, storage and distribution in Europe. It's a priority sector for us and crucial to the national economy.
"Bringing the competition to Grimsby is a prime example of the council promoting the local seafood sector to a much wider audience. This is an especially timely announcement for me as it was my final project before I step down from the Humber Seafood Institute board and leave North East Lincolnshire Council."
As reported, Mr Longhurst has taken a top development role in central Bedfordshire.