Asda lists ‘sinful’ monkfish restaurants Published: 02 February, 2007
ASDA is calling on top chefs such as Gordon Ramsay to stop serving monkfish
THE supermarket group Asda has not just angered fishermen over its decision to ban the sale of monkfish from all its stores, but is also in danger of getting into a war of words with some of the country’s top seafood chefs.
The Leeds based chain has taken the unusual and potentially controversial step of researching and publicly listing some of the leading (and hardly inexpensive) UK restaurants which are currently offering monkfish on their menus and details of the dishes they serve up. The company has also taken a swipe at its rivals by naming other supermarkets which are continuing to sell the species.
Asda’s Chris Brown said: “Monkfish is still a favourite dish on the menus of top restaurants all over the UK which is why Asda believes that leading chefs also have a pivotal role to play in helping to conserve dwindling stocks.”
In a ‘pull no punches’ press release the company says: “Monkfish will be removed from sale in all Asda stores by Monday 19th February 2007. It is currently sourced from the NE Atlantic and retails for £11.98 per kilo.”
Then it hots up the debate by unashamedly naming the restaurants it apparently regards as environmental ‘sinners’ and stating: “Monkfish is currently on the menu at the following top restaurants:
Gordon Ramsay – Chargrilled monkfish tail with crispy duck, red and yellow peppers, flat parsley and red wine sauce
Gordon Ramsay – The Savoy Grill – Roasted monkfish tails with baby clams provençale, braised fennel and aubergine crisps
Gordon Ramsay – La Noisette – Tajine of spiced monkfish, stuffed squid, langoustines and coriander condiment
Gordon Ramsey at Claridge’s – Fillet of monkfish wrapped in Parma ham, fricassée of lentils, chervil papardelle, horseradish velouté
Rick Stein – The Seafood Restaurant – Monkfish Goan Curry with Raita and Kachumber Salads
Rick Stein – Steins Fish and Chips – Monkfish £10.90
Jean Christophe Novelli – A touch of Novelli – Roasted monkfish wrapped in pancetta, cassoulet of white beans, artichoke, lemon oil
Jamie Oliver – Fifteen – Reviews on the web show his restaurants regularly serve Monkfish but menus change on a daily basis”
The Asda statement adds: “Monkfish is also available at the following supermarkets: Waitrose sells monkfish fillets from Cornwall and monkfish tails from NE Atlantic fisheries. Sainsbury’s sells monkfish tails from NE Atlantic fisheries.”
Yesterday, the Scottish Fishermens Federation strongly criticised the decision to pull monkfish off the shelves with chief executive Bertie Armstrong stating: There is absolutely no technical basis behind this move by Asda, which completely ignores the science and the fact that Scottish boats are fishing for monkfish responsibly and sustainably.” He was supported by the Scottish White Fish Producers Association which warned the move could have a disastrous effect on the fishing industry. Anger was also expressed by South West fishermen.
Apparently undaunted by the mounting criticism, the supermarket group has also called for the North Sea to be declared a marine conservation zone to preserve fish stocks for local fishing communities. It believes commercial fishing of the North Sea should be limited to local fishermen who depend on it for their sole income and who use recognised sustainable fishing practices.
Mr Brown added: “It (monkfish ban) wont be easy and this decision will initially cost us sales. However, if we dont act then the ocean will pay an even greater price and were not prepared to see that happen. “
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