How fresh is fresh?

The advantages of dayboat caught fish

Living by the sea has many benefits but the one we’re talking about today is the availability of fresh local fish.

Most ‘fresh’ fish sold in supermarkets has previously been frozen - not necessarily a bad thing because it takes more than a week for the fish to reach the shops so freezing helps preserve the fish, but just not as good as fish which is bought and eaten within a day of being caught.

This fish comes from dayboats, small boats typically less than 10 metres long (which is only a touch longer than two Landrover Discoverys - not long when you’re out on those seas!). Dayboats go out to sea and return with their catch the same day, unlike trip boats, which go out for days or weeks at a time.

There are currently 130 licensed fishing boats working off the Kent coast, most of which are the small dayboats. Many of them operate out of Ramsgate and we’re lucky to still have some working off Deal and Walmer beaches.

Locally sourced

These small boats don’t go too far from the coast, usually not further than six miles. They aren’t suited to rough seas and actually our boats can’t even launch off the beach when the weather is bad.

What this means is we’re able to buy fish directly from these dayboats that is both fresh and local. We’ve had lovely local Dover sole, plaice, bass, mackerel and even turbot over recent weeks. And not only fish. We also get local crabs, lobsters and clams. All caught just off our shores, by locals and usually sold the day after they’re caught.

They are also wild fish rather than farmed. Around half of all the fish eaten in this country is farmed and it is a sustainable option that helps protect our fish stocks, but again, we’re so lucky to live here. Our dayboat fishermen are very mindful of protecting our local fish stocks and we buy from people we know and trust.

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