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30% of Scottish adults unaware of huge range of local seafood. More than two thirds of Scottish adults don’t know that hake is caught in local waters! The fish-and-chip nation is unaware of the huge range of seafood available locally.

  • More than two in three Scottish adults don’t know that fish species such as hake (68%), coley (74%), or monkfish (72%) are caught in UK waters
  • Even though three in five (61%) Scots say they would be more likely to buy seafood if it was caught locally
  • Almost half (46%) of Scottish adults do however know that many fish and shellfish species are seasonal
  • Find your local retailers and fishmongers in new nationwide list directory of seafood stockists and suppliers – including retailers providing online delivery

Most Scottish adults (61%) would buy more seafood if they knew it was caught in UK waters. But many remain largely unaware that a lot of the fish found in their favourite dishes can be sourced locally – even though Scots are more likely to check where their seafood is caught than residents of any other part of the UK, with over half (51%) taking the time to look.

This comes as fishermen across the UK have been hit hard by falling demand for fish from restaurants and exporters as a result of the global coronavirus pandemic and are now looking to sell more of this great product at home rather than overseas.

A study of 4,000 adults was carried out for the ‘Sea for Yourself’ campaign, an initiative supported by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and Seafish, the public body that supports the UK seafood industry. It found that more two thirds (68%) of adults in Scotland don’t know that hake is found in UK waters, and are unaware that coley (74%) and monkfish (72%) are caught and farmed in UK waters.

And despite being a fish-loving country – 82% of Scots eat seafood at home as part of their diet – nearly two thirds (66%) say they don’t know how to prepare shellfish or find it difficult. Yet if they had the right skills to prepare and cook these species, 38% say they would for a special occasion.

The campaign is encouraging Scots to get more seafood-savvy by creating a nationwide list of seafood suppliers, making it easy to find a local retailer, local fishmonger or even fishers who deliver locally.

John Watson, Scotland’s first Master Fishmonger who runs C Fayre in Largs has expanded their mail order deliveries and whilst he has had to close the shop for direct customers, he has also developed a home delivery service which is proving extremely popular in and around the Largs area.

Similarly Downie’s of Whitehills a long established, family-run Scottish seafood processor nestled on the coast in Aberdeenshire; has seen the volume of their mail order delivery service for fish and seafood more than double in sales to customers in Scotland and across the UK.

Jess Sparks, Seafish Regional Manager in Scotland commented:

“We have seen several independent fishmongers across Scotland, such as C Fayre and Downie’s, adapt their businesses so that they can continue to provide their customers with not just an excellent service, but great in-season seafood as well.”

In addition, the campaign’s ‘Fish Is The Dish’ website also shares recipe inspiration and tips about how to prepare fish. And with only half of adults in Scotland (46%) knowing that, just like fruit and vegetables, fish are seasonal, the site also has lots of information about the wide variety of regional seafood that’s available throughout the year.

UK Government Minister for Scotland Douglas Ross said:

“I pay tribute to all those involved in Scottish fishing across the country who are working so hard to feed the UK in these challenging times.

 “People can help them by trying some of the great variety of seasonal fish that is caught in UK waters every day.  Buying seasonally, whether directly from fishermen, a supermarket or your local fishmongers, allows you to play your part in supporting our great fishing industry which is a vital part of Scotland’s rural economy.”

Mike Warner, Seafood Specialist and Seafish ambassador, said:

“Buying seasonally-sourced fish and shellfish is a great way to get the best out of seafood. Right now, some of my favourite, seasonally-available species would be mussels, brown crab, hake and mackerel. These species are being caught (or harvested) in UK waters right now and are available for purchase either online or at independent fishmongers and stockists.”

To access the list of seafood suppliers across the UK, including those who are offering online deliveries, visit:  https://www.fishisthedish.co.uk/learn/how-to/where-to-buy

For more information about the health benefits of fish or to discover new recipes to try at home, visit: https://www.fishisthedish.co.uk/