To say we are fussy about our fish at Krispies is an understatement. Everything we buy and serve has to be the very best quality and it goes without saying we apply the same high standards to sourcing our fish as we do to everything else.
And we get through a lot of fish – on average half a ton per week (more in Summer) and we want every single piece of fish we serve to be very fresh, very good quality and to come from sustainable sources. To achieve this we buy our fresh fish frozen! I know this sounds like a contradiction but it has everything to do with how it is caught, processed, stored and shipped.
For many years now we have sourced the vast majority of our fish from the Barent Sea which is fished by trawlers from both Iceland and Norway. These trawlers are unlike anything that you might see off the coast of sunny Devon as they big vessels that carry processing and freezing equipment on board and can be out at sea for weeks or even months at a time.
Known as factory trawlers they catch, gut, fillet and blast freeze the fish within four hours of coming out of the water. This compared to most traditional trawlers who are only able to put fish on ice until they get back to port (which may not be the same day as they are caught), then they are unloaded and sent to market and by the time they appear in the fish monger or on the restaurant menu they could be 3-4 days old. Because the process is so much faster aboard the factory trawlers the fish frozen at sea has often been called “Fresher than Fresh”.
As well as being ‘fresher than fresh’ the fish that we buy is also MSC certified so it is guaranteed to come from sustainable fish stocks. The factory trawlers in the Barent Sea only fish to strict quotas which are allocated by scientists who constantly asses marine life, increasing and lowering the quotas regularly to ensure that the fishing remains sustainable. In fact the Barent Sea has had fish stocks constantly monitored for over 100 years meaning that it escaped the over fishing that devastated the North Sea in the 1970s and has therefore a much healthier marine environment which governments and fishermen alike are keen to maintain.
The MSC certification also means that when our fish arrives at Krispies we know which boat caught it, the exact date they caught it and even who prepped and packed our fish! By this time it might have been frozen for 2-3 months (we do not buy fish that has been frozen for more than four months – not because there is anything wrong with it after this time, just because we extremely fussy and want to maintain the very highest standards) but once it reaches our shop it won’t stay in our freezers for long – we get two to three deliveries of fish per week so within a day or two the fish is defrosted, prepped, cooked and served – still as fresh as the day it was caught.