With some of the UK’s most famous and beautiful coastline, the waters of south east England serve up not only a treat for tourists, but some of the best seafood in the country.
Fishing vessels at some of coasts’ busiest fishing ports including Shoreham, Dover, Ramsgate and Whistable catch tonnes of fresh fish and hundreds of different species, from crab, to premium Dover sole and turbot, as well as favourites like mackerel.
Making its way from sea to plate in a matter of hours, the local fishing industry supplies supermarkets, restaurants, cafes and hotels across the country with fresh seafood, sustaining thousands of jobs. But with the hospitality industry hit hard by the Coronavirus crisis, especially in the lucrative London market, the seafood industry is now looking to those cooking at home to support fishermen along the coastline of Sussex, Kent and Essex.
By buying and cooking delicious seafood caught in local waters, shoppers are not only supporting one of the country’s most important industries, there are also plenty of science-backed health benefits that support all types of lockdown lifestyles.
From Omega-3 fats that boost brain function and maintain heart health to vitamins that reduce fatigue and improve skin and hair, adding just two portions of fish to your diet can have a big impact on daily life. Fish is also packed with protein which helps to maintain healthy muscles and muscle mass, which is perfect for people looking to stay fit.
Sea for Yourself is a campaign launched by Seafish, the public body that supports the £10bn UK seafood industry, in partnership with the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to encourage people to cook with UK caught fish species.
Fresh seafood is available from local supermarkets or fishmongers and an array of traditionally wholesale suppliers in the south east have adapted to offer home deliveries. Bishops Stortford-based Marrfish, for example, now offers nationwide deliveries of its fish boxes directly to customers’ doors. It offers box options to suit a range of budgets and requirements, including its Omega 3 box and its new BBQ box to help al-fresco cookers branch out from the usual burgers.
Ben English, Operations Director at Marrfish, said: “70% of what we catch in the UK is exported and 70% of what we eat is imported, during these times it has been important for us to make seafood as accessible to the people at home as we possibly can.
“We have some amazing fish caught from waters around the local area which are easy to cook, we just need to all give it a go!”
Julie Waites, Regional Manager for South East England at Seafish, said: “Many of our fish businesses can’t currently supply to restaurants or export and it’s great that we can all continue to support our national seafood industry by continuing to buy, eat and enjoy the south east’s delicious and diverse seafood.”
“Our insights team has seen a spike in Google searches for seafood recipes since the start of lockdown, showing people are keen to try something new and there’s never been a better time to start cooking with locally-caught seafood as there’s so much that’s in season at the moment.
“To lessen the demand on traditional species like cod and haddock, we actively encourage consumers to be more adventurous and try a wider range of fish and shellfish. It’s easy to opt for what you know and love, but you’ll probably be pleasantly surprised with the variety of flavours and recipes that are opened up by choosing lesser-known species.”
The Sea For Yourself campaign also has an online stockist map of local suppliers across the UK.
For more information and recipes go to www.fishisthedish.co.uk
Hake in a Hurry
4 x 170g skinless and boneless hake fillets
2 tbsp vegetable oil
80g homemade breadcrumbs
Handful fresh parsley, finely chopped, plus a few sprigs to garnish
Salt and pepper
Lemon wedges, to serve
1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/gas mark 4.
2. Wash and dry the hake fillets. Pour the oil into a large baking tray. Place the hake fillets in the tray and gently turn them over and around in the oil to cover them. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Combine the breadcrumbs with the chopped parsley. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the top of the fish fillets. Bake in a oven for 15 – 20 minutes, or until the crumbs are golden and crispy, and the fish cooked through. Serve immediately with lemon wedges, garnished with parsley sprigs.
Recipe by Sea for Yourself by Seafish