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Supporting A Sustainable Fishing Industry

A few words from Stefano about the importance of bringing fresh fish to growing numbers in a truly sustainable manner…

I have always loved the sea and all that is in it. Here in Kent we are surrounded by water and my family in Italy are from Ischia, a beautiful volcanic island rising out of the Mediterranean, so the sea and fish have always played a big part in my life and cooking.

As a child in the 80s I was blown away by wildlife documentaries, particularly entranced by the underwater world of oceans and reefs, near and far.

Over the years this has led me to a, decidedly unscientific and layman’s, interest in the fisheries here in the UK and further afield. Whilst my knowledge is simple, it is evident we are causing immense damage through overfishing and focussing our desire for fish on relatively few species. This is not only unsustainable but it is having a disastrous effect on our environment, often overlooked because it is hidden beneath the waves.

Charles Glover’s hugely evocative opening paragraphs in his important book on overfishing, ‘The End Of The Line’ (also captured here in a documentary of the same name!) struck me hard and underlined how difficult it was to balance the desire to support British Fishing with being as sustainable as possible. Furthermore, when I consider how cooking with fish can seem such a frightening proposition to many, it is no wonder that we stick to the cod, tuna and salmon species we feel safe with… and perhaps bury our heads in the sand when it comes to sustainability.

Introducing Our Approach

Our aim at Macknade is to continually move forward to a sustainable world where, as humans, we are equitable stakeholders alongside our fellow flora and fauna. How we consume fish is central to this and our current consumption is very much out of kilter with this aim.

To that end, we have worked hard in the past few years to identify a supply chain that we felt supported our proud British fishing industry, whilst championing sustainable fish consumption… and I think we are there!

Beginning this week, we will become the first retailers to develop a Fish Butchery in partnership with the newly formed Pesky Fish platform – a virtual marketplace with a singular goal ‘to build a better and more sustainable fishing industry for fish, fishermen and consumers across the world.’

The people behind Pesky are a highly knowledgable mix of marine biologists, supply chain specialists and coders who truly champion sustainable fish, creating the infratstructure for us to provide everyone with fresh, delicious and transparently supplied fish.

This is an important step in our journey and it will be a very different way of offering fish. It will be a tight seasonal range, with complete traceability, and once it’s gone, it’s gone. Most importantly, it will be nurtured by our talented butchers, who will advise you on the different species and how to cook them properly. You might come in wanting cod, but leave with a delicious piece of pollack!

I am acutely aware of personal hypocrisies in trying to carve out and support sustainable supply chains, but I believe we have a clear goal and are working collectively towards it. We recognise that we may have to change direction along the way, but ultimately we will deliver true sustainability for our communities and our environment.

I can’t wait to share with you the freshest seasonal fish & seafood from around our British shores, knowing exactly where it has come from, knowing exactly how to prepare & cook it, and being fully satisfied that it comes from stocks that are sustainable.

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