Your fishy fears put to bed

Your fishy fears put to bed

Quick read (under five minutes)

In this week’s Skipper’s Log, we answer your fears about fish. Our aim at Rockfish is, and always has been, to change the way we experience seafood in this country. With our Online Seafood Market, we want to extend that ambition right into your home, so you can enjoy the freshest, most quality and sustainable fish without any of the fuss.

“I’m scared to cook fish”

It’s true, as a nation we lack confidence when it comes to fish cookery. It’s not that we’re afraid of eating fish. Not at all. Think of the 167 million portions of fish and chips sold nationwide every year! But when it comes to the actual cooking of fish, we seem to get in a bit of a flap.

With our Online Seafood Market, we want you to be able to whip up restaurant-quality seafood meals without ever leaving the house. Online we give instructions on fish cooking techniques as well as easy-to-follow recipes specific to the species you buy all written by Mitch Tonks, our CEO and founder. Mitch has spent a career in fish. Building and running multiple successful fish restaurant chains both in London and the southwest. Nigella Lawson was right when she called him “the UK’s Mr Fish.” So, it’s safe to say that if there’s a man you can trust when looking for fish cooking advice, it’s Mitch.

“I’m worried about where my fish comes from”

So are we! This is why we want every piece of fish you buy from our Online Seafood Market to be 100% traceable to the very boat on which it was caught.

Our concerns about where our fish comes from manifest to even having our own boat, the Rockfisher. The Rockfisher is part of the UK’s inshore under 10-metre fleet and lands its bounty right here in Brixham. Having the Rockfisher has given us a real insight into what it takes to catch fish. To us, it’s the step beyond simply buying from a local day boat (something we have always done!) but getting our hands on the winch and managing what happens to your fish from the very second it leaves the sea.

There’s an old fisherman’s proverb that says for every hour a fish spends on deck after being caught, and not put straight on ice, is a day’s less shelf life for that fish. Whether this is true or not, having the Rockfisher has given us a better understanding of what good fish handling-practice is and allows us to build trusting relationships with each of the fishing boats we work with.

“I want to eat fresh fish”

“Fresh is best.” It’s a daily mantra that each of us at Rockfish repeats to ourselves in the mirror first thing when we wake up. But it’s the reason why we’re located less than 17 metres from England’s largest fishing port. The freshness clock for a fish starts ticking the second it’s caught. We don’t want to waste a minute with complicated time-intensive logistics moving fish around the country. Instead, we want to have processed your fish within hours of catching, and it be on its way to you that very same day.

“I’m worried about food waste”

Here’s a statistic that will turn your stomach: 35% of all fish caught are wasted before they ever reach a plate. That means chucked in the bin. Not eaten. Not enjoyed, cherished or celebrated. But caught just to be then thrown away!

This makes us sick to the gills. This is why we have worked so hard to ensure no fish here at Rockfish are ever wasted.

Our fish is landed here in Brixham, then immediately skinned, filleted and prepared. From here it is either sent to one of our eight restaurants along the south coast to be on the menu for lunchtime. Or it is packaged and shipped that day to be enjoyed by you at home. We know within hours if any seafood is not going to sell, in which case we blast freeze it to be sold another day. Blast freezing locks in the freshness and allows us to not have to waste anything.

“I want to eat more British fish. (But don’t know where to buy it!)”

Look no further.

Did you know just five species make up 80% of all the fish we eat in the UK? These are salmon, cod, tuna, warm-water prawns, and haddock. Of these, UK wild salmon is illegal to sell, and whilst it is farmed extensively in Scotland, we import most of what we eat from elsewhere. The UK cod fishery is almost non-existent compared to what it once was, especially in Brixham where inshore trawlers perhaps catch them in February and March only. Tuna is restricted to 10 vessels catching a total of 65 tonnes per year. Warm water prawns – dream on. And haddock we do catch, but again mainly up north...

It's a vicious circle that means buying fish that is a little more seasonal, and local can be quite tricky!

The Online Seafood Market makes this easy. There are 35 different species landed here in Brixham alone. All of them delicious. But also, not all of them are caught at once. Take herring, for example, a delicious British fish that go through seasons of boom and bust. They won’t be around for weeks on end and then for one hot second, the sea will be thick with them. This means we must be always ready with a filleting knife in one hand and the blast freezer on standby to spring to action so that we can make sure we’re able to provide a reliable supply of these scrumptious silver darlings.

“I’m worried about plastic pollution from the food I eat”

Worldwide around 11 million metric tons of plastic waste enter our oceans every single year. Without radical change, the amount of plastic waste generated could double by 2040 and, if waste infrastructure can’t keep up, the amount of plastic entering the ocean will nearly triple. Which is a sobering fact, almost to the extent that it seems insurmountable. But it’s not. For radical change to happen lots of people simply need to make some little changes. It’s the “many hands” scenario.

At Rockfish one of these small changes away from our single-use plastic addiction is using fully recycled, recyclable and reusable packaging when delivering your fish. Order from the Online Seafood Market and your fish will arrive in unique eco-packaging, with boxes made from fully recycled material and insulation from recycled plastic bottles.

Once you’ve eaten your fish, you can put the box out for kerbside recycling, or you can even return it to us along with the ice packs and insulation and we’ll foot the bill. All you have to do is go to our packaging page, book your return online, seal up the box and drop it at your nearest Post Office!

Our commitment to fighting plastic pollution goes even a step further with our Rockfish Litter Free Sea pilot project. Together with community partners Till the Coast Is Clear, and the Devon Environment Foundation, we’re committed to cleaning up plastic waste in the sea here in Brixham.

“I don’t want to have to deal with bones, guts, and scales”

Let us do it for you! We want to make fish easy. Our highly skilled team processes all our fish by hand making it cook-ready for our restaurants and for you to enjoy hassle-free at home. It means there is no fuss. Take the turbot, for example, throughout history regarded as one of the world’s most revered, respected fish, sought-after by monarchs in palaces across the land, now with the Online Seafood Market cooking one for yourself is as simple as taking one of our pre-prepped t-bones from of its wrapper and popping it an oven. Living like royalty really is that easy!