Riverford Wicked Leeks

FAQs - fish

Why are Riverford selling fish?


Our customers have been asking us to sell fish for a very long time. For us to do so, we had to be as confident in the sustainability and ethics behind it as we are about our organic veg and meat. It’s a complex issue as there are many different concepts of what is ‘sustainable’ when it comes to fish. After months of research and consulting fishermen, research bodies and industry experts, we feel we’ve come up with a robust model that supports small scale fishermen, has the least possible impact on the environment, and provides you with great tasting, British-caught fish.


What makes Riverford fish different?


As with our veg, fruit and meat, you can enjoy fish from Riverford in the knowledge that it has been ethically sourced; supporting small scale fishermen and providing great tasting, locally caught food. We’ve done the legwork for you.


Why do you only sell line-caught fish?


Line-caught fishing is both low impact and selective; there is no damage to the seabed, and by-catch of unwanted species is very rare. As we don’t use nets, there is no risk of lost ‘ghost’ nets which entangle and kill marine life on reefs and in the open sea.


Who are the Riverford fishermen?


We only buy line-caught fish from local markets (usually Looe, Cornwall). All the fish we buy come from under 10 meter day boats. This ensures that we support small-scale fishermen. We can always tell you the name of the boat that caught the fish as we have full traceability from the boat to your door.


Why do you freeze your fish?


Your fish will arrive defrosted and chilled. It is iced at sea,then expertly prepared, packed and blast frozen within 24 hours. Paradoxically, freezing the fish ensures it is fresher at the point of eating; fish from industrial scale boats may have a much longer journey before it is frozen. Freezing the fish enables us to catch the fish when they are in our local seas and balance supply and demand (eg. you can still get fish if the boats can’t get out in rough weather). In our blind taste tests we found no impact from freezing on flavour or texture, so you can expect fish that tastes as good as our meat and veg. (Please note that as the fish has been frozen you cannot refreeze it at home).


Why isn’t your fish organic?


Wild-caught fish cannot be certified as organic, as the conditions under which it has grown cannot be controlled. As such the only certified organic fish is farmed fish, which is reared in enclosed environments.


Is fish seasonal like fruit and veg?


Sometimes, yes. Different fish species have different breeding and migration patterns, and as we only ever work with known day boats working in a specific location, certain species of fish just won’t be there all the time.


Why don’t you just sell Marine Stewardship Certified fish?


The MSC is an excellent global standard. However, as we have decided to exclusively sell line-caught fish from small-scale, non-industrial fishers local to us, many of the issues that the MSC addresses aren’t relevant.


Why do you only sell a few species of fish?


As we only sell line-caught fish, some species (e.g. flat fish) are not available because they can only be caught with nets. In time, we may sell net-caught fish, if we can ensure that the fishermen are fishing responsibly.