July 6, 2008

Pollock Sales Soar After Endorsement By Top Chefs

For fish-lovers on a budget, pollock has always been top of the menu but now its popularity is growing thanks to the endorsement of celebrity chefs.

Gordon Ramsey and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall have both been strong supporters of the fish over recent months and it seems consumers have got the message.

A recent survey by Seafish, the Government's sea fish industry authority, found pollock sales have increased by 171 per cent over the past 12 months, not only due to a growing celebrity fan base, but also because of its cheaper, greener credentials.

Phil MacMullen, head of environmental responsibility at Seafish, said: "The recent championing of sustainable seafood by celebrity chefs - and by retailers - has encouraged consumers to experiment with the lesser-known varieties in their area."

Pollock can be found in abundance in the Westcountry's waters and is a more sustainable choice than the dwindling stocks of cod or haddock.

Mr MacMullen said that by choosing pollock over cod or haddock, "consumers are becoming more aware of the importance of responsible sourcing".

He said: "Choosing alternative species helps to ease the pressure on stocks of more traditional fish."

Pollock, along with sea bass and langoustine, can now been seen on restaurant menus across the country, adding a 5 per cent year-on- year growth to the UK seafood market - which is now worth pounds2.67 billion.

Francois Ravin is the export manager at Looe Fish Market in South East Cornwall. He said the recent surge in popularity of the fish has also been felt locally.

He said: "This is great news for local fishers. Over the last few months we have seen the price of pollock steadily rising and now it is around pounds3 to pounds5 per kilo."

The survey also revealed sea bass sales have risen by 31 per cent and sales of squid are up by 48 per cent.

Chef Mitch Tonks, owner of the Seahorse Restaurant in Dartmouth, South Devon, and founder of the Fish Works restaurant and fishmonger, said: "There is so much more willingness to try new species as the interest in seafood grows and people really discover how good it is and how easy it is to cook."

(c) 2008 Western Morning News, The Plymouth (UK). Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning. All rights Reserved.