A Tynemouth fish and chip shop has taken sustainable and local sourcing to a new level by purchasing its very own fishing boat.
Longsands Fish Kitchen has bought the £20,000 Blue Marlin, which co-owner Kevin Henderson takes out two to three times a week, catching a range of species including coley, cod, haddock and mackerel. The fish is in the restaurant, prepped and on the specials board in less than an hour from it being landed, enabling customers to enjoy fresh, local seafood which is also sustainable and fully traceable.
Kevin, who opened Longsands Fish Kitchen with chef Simon Walsh two years ago, comments: “I’ve been joking about getting a boat for about a year and a half now and then a few weeks ago I had a phone call to say this boat was up for sale. I’m into salmon fishing and I’ve done a bit of sea fishing before, but I’m totally obsessed with this now.
“It’s great because the fish isn’t costing us anything and we’re only catching what’s in season. We’re going to the source, so it’s fully traceable too. We know it’s literally caught a mille off shore from where we are, so you can’t get much more local or fresher than that.”
Kevin’s biggest haul so far from one trip has been 120 line caught mackerel. “It seems to be in abundance at the moment,” he comments. “I got back to the restaurant and Simon asked what are we going to do with all this mackerel!”
While some was cured and served with gooseberries in the restaurant, others were smoked and kept, while in the takeaway mackerel tacos were served.
Kevin adds: “Customers are loving it. And it’s a great story for our staff to be able turn around and tell customers that the mackerel on the specials board is caught by our very own boat that day.”
Supplying the restaurant directly has also brought about an unexpected benefit in terms of reducing the packaging coming into the business.
Kevin adds: “It wasn’t something I thought about until I had a survey done recently to help bring the cost of our waste down and it was pointed out to me that I buy all this sustainable fish, but then the plastic and cardboard it comes in all goes to landfill, which means it’s not actually that sustainable. With our boat, the fish goes into a bucket and straight to the shop where it is filleted and used straight away. There’s no packaging involved at all.”