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Fish, Fillet, Feast!

Brown crabs Credit Yorkshire Wildlife TrustBrown crabs Credit Yorkshire Wildlife Trust

Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, in partnership with the North York Moors National Park and Holderness Coast Fisheries Local Action Group (FLAG), is launching a new initiative to champion locally-caught seafood that doesn’t cost the earth.

Yorkshire - home to Europe's largest brown crab and lobster fishery

The North York Moors National Park coastline is famous for its beautiful beaches, picturesque moors and fishing villages. Fewer people realise Yorkshire is also home to the largest brown crab and lobster fishery in Europe, and the coast off the National Park is abundant with some of the finest seafood around. Over 3,000 tonnes are landed along the Yorkshire Coast each year, supporting a vibrant fishing industry.

From Whitby to Scarborough, and Bridlington to Spurn Point, every coastal town or village has their own unique fishing heritage. Where vast fleets of trawlers once graced Whitby and Scarborough, and cobles jostled for room on the Flamborough landings, a new contemporary shellfish industry has emerged.

With expanding fleets in Bridlington, Scarborough and Whitby a change in vessel design and type can be noted throughout the region. Heavy wooden cobles and trawlers have gradually been replaced with lightweight catamarans and keel boats designed for hauling and shooting pots. The most common catches landed to the quayside are now brown (edible) crab, European lobster, velvet crabs, whelks and scallops, replacing cod and whitefish.

Yorkshire pudding, Wensleydale cheese… why not Scarborough Scallops?

One of the greatest challenges within Yorkshire’s coastal communities has been a loss of local demand and seafood preparation skills. Local supermarkets have been stocking Canadian lobsters whilst several tonnes of local catch have been landed just a few miles away, which is almost exclusively exported to the continent.

Working with local fishermen and restaurants we’re developing a new local ‘Signature Seafood’ concept to promote the availability of quality seasonal fish in restaurants throughout North Yorkshire and the East Riding.

Wolds Whiting – a herb crusted fillet of prime Yorkshire Whiting with grape and roasted garlic dressing Credit Rob Green/YWTThe partnership is creating a series of signature dishes with the help of local specialist, Seafish Ambassador and former Seafood chef of the year, Rob Green. The emphasis is on locally sourced, seasonally available fish. Working to a series of simple but elegant recipes designed by Rob, our ambition is to recruit a network of seafood champion restaurants throughout 2018 and 2019 who can offer a range of seasonal dishes.

We’ll be adding details of participating restaurants and fishmongers who use local fish shortly, keep checking back for progress.

You can also learn more about Yorkshire's fishing industry today here.

Content provided by Dr. James Wood, Fisheries for the Future Officer at the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust