Chef Tom Aikens awards fishermen Published: 17 March, 2008
Steve and Chris Wightman pictured with Tom Aikens
FISHERMEN Steve and Chris Wightman, who line-catch cod off the coast of Lowestoft, Suffolk recently celebrated joining the Responsible Fishing Scheme with top London chef Tom Aikens.
The brothers, who both live in Aldeburgh and have been fishing all their lives, took Tom out on their boat, the Maximus, in February to demonstrate how they minimise the impact of their operations on the surrounding environment.
Fishing seasonally, Steve and Chris line-catch cod, seabass and thornback ray during the winter months and sole, plaice and sometimes lobster in drift nets in the summer. The methods employed by the duo not only avoid issues such as by-catch and discarding, but also ensure that the very best fish is caught.
The Responsible Fishing Scheme was launched by Seafish, the industry authority on seafood, in 2006 to promote good operational and environmental practices. More than 190 boats in Britain are now certified by the scheme and a further 230 are in the process of assessment.
Steve said: Chris and I have been using sustainable fishing methods for years, so we are thrilled that our hard work and dedication is being recognised. Tom is an avid supporter of the Responsible Fishing Scheme so it was great to show him how we are helping raise standards in the catching sector and safeguard the marine life in our waters.
Michelin-starred chef Tom Aikens opened his third restaurant, Toms Place – an ethical fish-and-chip shop – last month to rave reviews. Over the past few years, Tom has spent every spare minute learning about fishing from the various practices to the issues facing it.
The Responsible Fishing Scheme is a vital tool for the industry, says Tom. It celebrates fishermen such as Steve and Chris who work hard to protect global fish stocks and encourages standards to be raised throughout the chain.
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