Shetland Mussel Season is upon us

Andrew Jackson - Thursday, October 01, 2015

September - ‘Shetland Mussel Season is upon us’

We generally class the mussel season as any month with and ‘R’ in it. We sell mussels all year round but there is a “reason for a season” as you will have a better eating experience with fish and seafood when product is generally in season, at is best!

I personally will only eat mussels in the typical season as I see the difference in them in September and they only get fatter and better tasting from here on. A big bowl of mussels with French bread on my dining room table with my wife, children and friends is a rewarding dining experience for me.

Mussels spawn in the summer months when water temperatures rise which reduces the meat content of the product, also in the summer months the waters in and around Shetland are susceptible to algal blooms and toxins accumulate in the mussel which have to be monitored/tested weekly for suitable human consumption. This is why sometimes in the summer we have limited or no stock.

We would advise mussels going on the menu now from September through to April and you will experience some of Shetland’s lovely plump, high meat content, thin shelled mussels from our supplier “Seaspray” on the Shetland Isle’s.

Seaspray mussels are top quality where the naturally pristine environment is ideal for the mussels to develop and grow as Mother Nature intended. The Seaspray product comes from “Boutique” mussel farm sites where farm managers can ensure that the mussels are handled with care to provide the quality product required by the end user. The farm managers are committed to ensuring that the Shetland environment is protected for the enjoyment of future generations of their own families as well as the unique location for the production of top quality shellfish.


My Handling Tips:

In my opinion mussels are fragile soles and must be respected and handled correctly as follows.

Mussels must be chilled and kept cold, do not expose to dehydration – what I mean by this is do not let chiller fans blow cold air over them as they will simply dry out and die.

Keep the mussels on a tray or a container that has drain holes and place a wet towel or newspaper over the top to keep them in a moist cold damp environment.

Fresh water will kill a mussel - do not submerge in fresh water (a rinse when ready to cook will suffice).

De-bearding mussels to premature will kill a mussel – I look at a mussels beard as like a baby’s umbilical cord – which is attached to important working internal stuff? Pull the bears off at the last minute before cooking to ensure you do not injure your mussel – they are living creatures!

Mussels grown on ropes in Shetland have thinner shells than mussels dredged from seabed’s so handle with care as not to smash the mussels

Mussels that are open and refuse to close if tapped are dead and should be discarded before cooking and mussels that do not open during cooking should be discarded as they may have been dead before cooking commenced.

Ask our team for Yellow net Seaspray Mussels – 5 kg nets, fully traceable for peace of mind.

Wild Sea Trout

Andrew Jackson - Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Wild Seatrout is now being offered to @marrfish on a daily basis, from Northumberland in particular, the run of seatrout is well under way. We are receiving the seatrout in it freshest form from Drift Netters who land on the East Coast of Northumberland. There is a season for netters who are licensed to fish and have a limited number of tags available for the season. Wild Sea Trout caught by a legal net or trap in England and Wales must have an Environment Agency carcass tag attached through their mouth and gills. These must remain attached until the fish are processed. The netters set their nets early morning off shore and would return to the nets in the evening to see what has been caught, tags are attached to the fish, put on ice and sent to us via our partners in the trade. 

The season for Wild Sea Trout is from April –August, we generally get chefs asking for them as early as April but we must be patient for mother nature to decide when we get them so it is always best to take direction from us before it is considered viable for a menu. The first Sea Trout caught fetch heavy premiums and are sort after as you can imagine and over the weeks price slide to an affordable rate but you still pay a premium for the unique texture, flavour, taste and colour of this precious harvest. Wild Seatrout are migrating back up into the rivers to spawn just as Wild Salmon do.

Marrfish sustainability rating – Some argue that we are intercepting a wild specie coming back to spawn/reproduce but this is the case with many wild fisheries as we follow them around their habitat at sea - to intercept and catch migratory stock – so a responsible approach we feel is to take advantage of the licensed fish when they are available and to utilise them as a weekly blackboard special and to class them as a treat for the menu and your customers and rely on the sea reared trout for printed menu slots.

Pot Caught Native Norfolk Lobsters

Andrew Jackson - Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Beautiful Norfolk pot caught Native Lobsters are available @marrfish throughout the summer months

The partnership we have with our local potter from Blakeney works second to none, he uses our salmon and cod frames (our by-product) to bait his pots which attract lobster and crab off the North Norfolk coastline, believe it or not Lobsters as actually quite fussy and will not eat Haddock bones!?. Simon delivers his catch into us once a week so we can offer lovely local shellfish with the minimum of fuss to menus throughout East Anglia and London.

Simon would lay up to 10 shanks for 5 days, each shank containing a string of 25 pots, once hauled up onto his boat he personally inspects each Lobster, if they are berried (carrying eggs) they will be returned to the water of North Norfolk with a small v notch in the tail, this is made by Simon using a tool which looks like a pair of pliers, this allows the lobster to breed and mature for a further year until she sheds her shell which is a yearly event. A landed ‘notched’ lobster is an offence and carries a hefty fine with the local fisheries officer, now that’s what I call a responsible inshore system for the humble Lobster.

The size of the lobster is important by law they have to measure 87 mm from the back of the eye socket to the back of the carapace, if it is too small it will be returned back to mature for another day.

Local lobsters will be available throughout the summer as the water temperature stimulates there movement inshore the only time they go short is when they do shed their shells as they become vulnerable to predators and tend to hide up. Simon throws soft shelled lobsters over the side during this process as they tend not to eat well or last very long, during this time you will find lobster prices firming due to supply and demand and can last over a period of 4-5 weeks but subject to this seasonal ritual lobsters are good for your menu.

Marrfish sustainable review - our personal view is that it is super sustainable, a responsible managed fishery with clear concise guideline for landing, non-destructive method of catching, Seasonal, Less food miles.

Mackerel Season

Andrew Jackson - Wednesday, June 17, 2015

We are now entering exciting times at Peterhead Bay in Scotland, the water temperature is warming and attracting the local stock of seasonal coastal mackerel. It is line caught by many under 10 m vessels which berth all year in Peterhead harbour, the boats can be identified easily by the coloured cotton reels which sit on the boats which hold the many yards of line which lure the mackerel.

As pictured the 'Be Ready' would steam out early hours of the morning into Peterhead bay and drop its numerous lines, feathers attached which attract the resident mackerel, the line is jigged through various depths depending on where the shoals are sitting in the water column, hooked, then brought aboard and automatically stripped from the line by a stripper into awaiting kit boxes ready for market.

The boats would land into Peterhead market by day break and the fish actioned to local buyers and sent as far away as the continent for sale in supermarkets and to fishmongers up and down the British Isles

The availability is reliant on good weather and equally good prices, all boats have a quota to adhere to which is precious to all involved for this particular species which visits us during the summer months only and simply move on around the end of August.

Fish will now be available from these delightful boats until the end of August a must for a seasonal orientated menu and a lovely summer dish, available @marrfish #24hoursold

Marrfish sustainable review - our personal view is that it is super sustainable, a responsible managed local fishery, quota dependant, migrating stock, non-destructive method of catching, three month season only.

We have been working closely with Marrfish for many years now. The quality and freshness of their fish is always first rate and customer care exemplary.

Pascal Canevet / Maison Bleue, Bury St Edmunds

Fresh & a consistent quality are what we look for from our suppliers; delivery 6 days a week, competitive pricing and a team that go the extra mile for us when needed, we always recommend Marrfish & hope this partnership continues

Paul Hood / Social Eating House, Soho

Finding a good fish supplier is something I seemed to struggle with due to consistency but since Marrfish was recommended to me by a friend I've got to say I've never had a problem. The guys are great to talk to, they're confident in there product and the quality and freshness is second to none.  I would put my reputation on the line to recommend them to anyone Cheers boys

Phil Thompson / Phil Thompson - THOMPSON@Darcys

The fish is bloody lovely.

Rik Withers / Head Chef / Six Bells Horringer

Marrfish offer us a first class service, supplying fantastically fresh sustainable fish from their own boats. We have constant contact with their skippers which gives us first-hand knowledge of the catch and allows us to plan our menus daily using exceptional quality seafood and great prices

Warren Geraghty / Warren Geraghty / Executive Head Chef, Galvin Restaurants

Marrfish Blog:

Shetland Mussel Season is upon us

Andrew Jackson | 01-Oct

Wild Sea Trout

Andrew Jackson | 30-Jun

Pot Caught Native Norfolk Lobsters

Andrew Jackson | 24-Jun

Mackerel Season

Andrew Jackson | 17-Jun

Welcome to our new website

Andrew Jackson | 18-Feb