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What the fishmonger wishes you knew

Published on May 3, 2018
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Feeling the fear when it comes to cooking fish? Worried it’s no longer ethical to rustle up a seafood supper? Rob Wing, founder of Wing The Cornish Fishmonger, reveals what the fishmonger wishes you knew

Fishermen with nets

FISH IS REALLY GOOD FOR YOU

Even the humble sardine is a wholesome food, packed with vitamin D. Fish has no additives and is pure – not mechanically processed like sausages and burgers. Yes, it’s the most expensive protein on the planet, but it’s also the last wild food that’s hunted in bulk. What would beef cost if the butcher had to go out and shoot the cattle?

SUPERMARKET FISH IS NEVER AS FRESH AS FROM A FISHMONGER

The time delay – due to the indirect routes through which supermarkets work – doesn’t suit fish. It’ll never be as fresh as from the fishmongers. It is a myth, however, that ‘if it isn’t caught today then it’s no good’. Some fish such as skate, ray and dover sole are better eaten a couple of days after they’ve been caught.

HOW DANGEROUS FISHING IS

Steeplejacking is safe as houses compared to fishing; there’s more mortality in fishing than in any other trade. Fishermen go through incredible danger – fishing at depths of 150m in winter gales – to bring seafood home. The real cost of fishing is the lives of those who are lost at sea.

IT’S WORTH TRYING SOMETHING NEW

You might just discover a gem. We’re selling more cuttlefish, octopus and gurnard than ever because people are starting to branch out with their seafood choices. Seasonality can help you be adventurous too – if you can’t get a certain fish then you can’t eat it.

FISH IS THE ULTIMATE FAST FOOD

It takes five minutes to pan fry a few fillets of gurnard for my family – add salad and warm crusty bread and it’s done. Really good, fresh fish can be eaten as sashimi, so you can’t really undercook it from a food safety point of view. My wife bought me a ready meal with hake in it for lunch once. The microwave nuked it, so I spat out the fish and added my own: the difference was phenomenal. I wonder how many people don’t like fish because they’ve only tried the average quality, overcooked variety.

OUR LOCAL STOCKS ARE EXCELLENT

Overfishing is no longer the issue it was; everybody is now much more committed to tomorrow. Many of my colleagues in the fishing fleet used to set miles upon miles of nets, whereas now they match their nets to the quotas they’ve got. The stocks around our shores, particularly in the South West, are in excellent condition and growing year on year – our region’s fishing industry is incredibly ethical in the way it works.

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