Fishermen and processors meet M&S at Highland Show –

Fishermen and processors meet M&S at Highland Show Published:  23 June, 2008

Ian Gatt pictured left with M&S chef

FISHERMEN and processors met Marks & Spencer senior fish technologist Andrew Mallison at the Highland Show this weekend, and took part in a public cookery demonstration on the M&S stand as part of its ‘Catching for the Market’ initiative.

Ian Gatt, president of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation rolled up his sleeves and gave a hands-on demonstration on the preparation of Scottish langoustines, whilst explaining how the fishery works and detailing its value to the economy. His running commentary gave rise to plenty of questions from the floor of the crowded demonstration hall, and the finished product, grilled with garlic butter, was quickly snapped up.

Joining Ian in the crowd, to talk to consumers, were North-east fishermen Derek Cardno (Forever Grateful), John Buchan Snr (Ocean Venture) and Peter Bruce (Budding Rose), together with processors Ian Stephen (Lunar Seafoods) and Grahame Sinclair (Burgons of Eyemouth).

The group enjoyed a fruitful meeting with Andrew Mallison, who outlined the profile of M&S customers and spoke of the company’s commitment to product, price, quality, responsible procurement and authenticity, together with its aspirations for accredited sustainable seafood supply. He said that M&S was planning to introduce British regional food promotions in the autumn and that Scottish seafood would be well represented.

“We are fully committed to Scottish seafood supplies and want to build on our existing relationships with fishermen and processors, to improve the quality and sustainability of supply,” he said.

Derek Cardno found the meeting extremely useful. “It gave me an opportunity to question M & S on its supply policy, to learn what fish its customers want, and to explore new supply opportunities for pelagic fish such as herring and mackerel,” he explained.

Peter Bruce found the day gave him the chance to learn about the current and future requirements for seafood supply in M & S and to see where the Scottish industry fits into the picture.

Ian Gatt enjoyed his star turn and briefly mused over the possibilities of a new career as a celebrity chef! “I believe we do not do enough work in telling restaurateurs, retailers, NGOs and the public about initiatives to make Scottish fisheries more sustainable, and this initiative allowed us to do that. We should take every opportunity to tell our story and I am grateful to Seafood Scotland for organising this event,” he stated.

Libby Woodhatch, CEO of Seafood Scotland explained that the ‘Catching for the Market’ initiative is ongoing and helps all sectors of the supply chain gain a better understanding of each others’ roles, and fosters greater cooperation in business. “This was an excellent event and the fishermen and processors had the added benefit of a few hours at the Royal Highland Show, where just the day before, Richard Lochhead had announced the new Scottish Food and Drink Policy. We are looking forward to working with the Government on the delivery of certain aspects of this policy, demonstrating that seafood is a delicious, healthy and sustainable meal option,” she said. is published by Special Publications. Special Publications also publish FISHupdate magazine, Fish Farmer, the Fish Industry Yearbook, the Scottish Seafood Processors Federation Diary, the Fish Farmer Handbook and a range of wallplanners.