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I have been a full time fisherman in Jersey since 1974. In that time I have fished in the Channel and around Jersey and the adjacent coast to France. My catches have varied from crab and lobsters to wet fish and scallops to which I concentrate on now. In that time I have had to deal with many changes in the fishing world.
A few years ago I started selling direct to the public and stopped exporting - My main emphasis being fresh, local and sustainable at good prices. My wife and I set up jerseyfreshfish.com and also became a Genuine Jersey member at this time.
Although harder work and long hours, the business expanded and we have a very loyal customer base including some top quality outlets. One of the ways my customers keep in touch with what we are doing is by receiving my weekly emails or looking at the face book page with our pictures and videos.
The Fish Fight spearheaded by Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall became a big issue . My boat is under 10 metres in length and my fishing trips are all under 24 hours in length. Due to the size of the boat, my fishing gear is lighter than larger boats and consequently this means the seabed damage is minimal. Any fish I catch which are undersize are thrown back alive to grow bigger. There are fewer discards in Jersey waters so the public can be assured that any I have are not wasted as with the tragic circumstances the UK fisherman have to endure at present.
Here is one of Hugh's comments: “Locally caught fish, especially from the “under tens” – family owned fishing boats less than 10 metres long – generally represents the most sustainable fish choice of all. In many ports you can still buy fish direct off the boats – which is always an adventure and a treat.”
My aim has always been to show the general public that fresh fish does not need to be a luxury product, but something to enjoy with the added benefit that the customer knows the source and quality of the product. My feedback from customers has been outstanding so far and I hope to build on this. I have been able to introduce not only prime fish i.e. turbot, brill, sole, plaice, skate etc but more less known fish such as pouting, pollack, whiting, gurnard, rock salmon (very economical sustainable fish) which has not been readily available to the public up until now.
Our main outlet at the moment is at Lucas Bros Farm shop at La Haule Hill where we can be found from early morning until sold out, Fridays and Saturdays. From the trailers at the farm shop the public only receive the freshest seasonal fish caught that week. If I am not there, it is generally due to bad weather or essential maintenance on the boat. Therefore the public can always be assured of the freshest produce
I can also be found at various Markets throughout the year including the St. Aubin’s Farmers and Crafts market on a Saturday morning. The dates of these can be found on the www.genuinejersey.com site.
We wish to promote further the lesser known fish and provide more customers with good value quality fish with zero food miles. Also increase our outlets as we go into a new eco conscious world.
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