The project visited the Sir E Scott School in Tarbert, Harris, where pupils were joined by children from Leverhulme primary, a Gaelic medium unit, to learn where seafood comes from, how it gets to their plates, and why it is important to eat as part of a healthy diet.
Each pupil attended a series of half-hour workshops, designed to improve their understanding of the wider Scottish seafood industry and the opportunities it affords young people thinking about future careers.
A firm favourite is always the fresh fish counter, where children can see and handle species including salmon, crab, haddock, lobster, crab, mussels and oysters, and learn about their journeys from sea to plate using specially designed wallcharts.
This workshop was hosted by Seafood in Schools coordinator Ruathy Donald, with fish and shellfish kindly provided by Islander Shellfish, and a salmon supplied by the Scottish Salmon Company, which operates farms locally.
Pupils were excited to find out that staff were also taking along a tank of young salmon for pupils to feed and observe, which is used as a focus for discussion about sustainable aquaculture and the opportunities it offers in terms of local employment.
Craig Anderson, Managing Director of The Scottish Salmon Company, said: “Promoting a healthy lifestyle is important to us at The Scottish Salmon Company.
"We are delighted to work with Seafood in Schools in our local communities and look forward to supporting the workshop at Sir E Scott School in Harris this week.
"The day includes ways in which Scotland’s finest salmon can be cooked, along with information about its nutritional benefits, and is also supported by members of our staff who are explaining the intricate life cycle of the salmon and provide information on career opportunities.”
Seafood’s vital part in the diet is covered by Catriona Frankitti of the Fish for Health project, who took pupils through the health and wellbeing benefits of a seafood-rich diet.
She encouraged them to taste a selection of species high in Omega 3, including hot smoked mackerel and mussels from Tesco, cold smoked salmon from Associated Seafoods, hot smoked trout from Belhaven Trout, John West sprats from International Fish Canners, and marinated herring from Silver Tide, all served with oatcakes sponsored by Nairns.
“Islander Shellfish generously offered to provide ready to eat seafood for the Come Dine with Me experience, which will allows children and parents to taste what is locally available in the shop,” explained Ms Frankitti.
“We generally leave a legacy of increased local sales wherever we hold our workshops, because we enable pupils and parents to try and enjoy seafood, often for the first time,” she said.
Chef Alan Frost, a regular at Seafood in Schools event, hosted the final workshop, cooking up some quick, easy and tasty seafood dishes for pupils to try, and handing out recipe leaflets to inspire and encourage parents to try them at home.
“I really enjoy working with the children and especially love to see them tucking in to a variety of seafood dishes. We can’t do enough to encourage the next generation of seafood eaters,” he said.
Spreading the ‘eat more seafood’ message to a wider audience is an important part of the Seafood in Schools project, and a community event designed to achieve this, was held at the school from 4.30 - 6.30pm, for relatives and friends of pupils.
Following the workshops, each participating class undertakes a project of their choosing using seafood as a context for learning, which they must demonstrate to the rest of the school through an assembly or similar activity.
“In this way, we ensure that the Seafood in Schools programme and the messages it teaches, have a very wide reach,” said Ruathy Donald.