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Retail Sales of Gurnard up 1000% in UK

UK - A fish once used as lobster bait is rising rapidly in popularity as consumers take note of its excellent taste and sustainability credentials.


Photo: Seafish

Gurnard - a fast growing and unusual-looking whitefish – has quietly been winning over the country’s top chefs in the last few years. Now consumers are taking note, according to Seafish, the authority on seafood.

Retail sales of gurnard have risen from just £17,000 per year in 2007 to £181,000 in 2008 – an increase of nearly 1000%. This falls into line with other recent research from Seafish which shows that consumers are stepping away from traditional varieties of seafood such as cod in favour of new species such as Pollock.


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"We have three species that appear all around our coasts but most of our catches are taken off the south west and in the North Sea."
Seafish Head of Environmental Responsibility, Philip MacMullen

Seafish Head of Environmental Responsibility, Philip MacMullen, explains: “Gurnard has been an under-rated fish for many years in the UK, although European countries like France and Spain have always valued it. We have three species that appear all around our coasts but most of our catches are taken off the south west and in the North Sea.

“Since being championed by celebrity chefs such as Rick Stein and Tom Aikens, gurnard has been appearing on menus at top restaurants all around the country.

“Now we can see that it’s jumped from being something people order in a restaurant, to something they buy in the supermarket and cook for themselves. This backs up other research showing that consumers are becoming more confident in trying alternative seafood, which takes the pressure off more traditional species.”

Michelin-starred chef, Tom Aikens, says: “Gurnard is absolutely delicious and most importantly, in plentiful supply. We have noticed a significant demand for gurnard at Tom’s Kitchen, as customers become increasingly savvy about the wide variety of fish available from UK waters.

“As well as being sustainable and affordable, gurnards’ firm, white flesh lends itself to an array of dishes. Add to fish stews or simply grill or barbeque a good thick fillet for a great summer supper.”

Ellen Hardy

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