Fish trade welcomes return of "Fish Fridays" –

Fish trade welcomes return of “Fish Fridays” Published:  16 May, 2011

NEWS that the Catholic Church in Britain is to restore “Fish Fridays” later this year has been welcomed by the fish trade on the Humber.

From September 16th Catholics will be urged to refrain from eating meat on Fridays as an act of self denial and, while there is no specific instruction to eat fish, it should potentially boost fish sales.

Eating fish on Fridays was common practice until the late 1960s, not just among Roman Catholics, but also with members of some other Christian denominations as well.

It is a throwback to the days when meat was seen as something of a luxury food, especially among the less well off, and at a time before wholesale refrigeration when fish was not always as fresh as it should be so eating it was regarded as a sort of penance. It also has clear religious significance in that some of Jesus’ disciples were fishermen and figured in some of His miracles. The fish also became an early Christian symbol.  The Bishops’ Conference in Britain is to re-establish the practice of Friday penance and its abstinence from eating meat as a means of a simple shared act of self-denial.

But parts of the fish trade have been struggling during the economic downturn and the development was welcomed by the Grimsby Fish Merchants Association. Chief executive Steve Norton said: “Anything that will help boost sales of fish and seafood has to be a good thing for our business. The ‘Friday Fish’ practice has dropped off in recent years although it is noticeable that sales do increase significantly during Holy Week in the run up to Easter, so religious practice does have an affect on sales.”

He added: “There is plenty of sustainable fish and many different varieties on sale these days, so people can buy with a clear conscience.”

The fish trade will monitor Friday sales after September to see if the new edict has any impact.