FRY April 2022


GOOD FISH GUIDE SHOWS CONCERN OVER MONKFISH, SKATE AND RAYS Monkfish from the North Sea and the west of Scotland is now a Fish to Avoid while herring and sardines join the Best Choice list in the Marine Conservation Society’s updated Good Fish Guide. The guide shows consumers and businesses which seafood options are the most sustainable by using a simple traffic light system. Green is the Best Choice, amber is OK to eat but improvements are needed, and red indicates Fish to Avoid. A restaurant favourite, monkfish caught in the North Sea and the west of Scotland, has moved from amber onto the Fish to Avoid list. Monkfish numbers in this area have declined from a peak in 2017 to the lowest since 2013. Monkfish isn’t completely off the menu, however. In contrast, populations in the south west UK are among the biggest on record. If Celtic Sea monkfish isn’t available, it can easily be replaced in recipes for a more sustainable firm white fish such as hake. There is still concern about most skates and rays, which are poorly managed in most places and vulnerable to overfishing, resulting in no green rated options and only a few amber rated. Brown crab and lobster were also reviewed with the only Best Choice options being Shetland brown crab and Jersey lobster, both of which are MSC-certified. There had been concerns about herring from the North Sea, as populations had been in decline since 2017. However, this seems to be slowing down, and the latest science shows that the population is a healthy size. It therefore makes the Best Choice list. Sardines caught off the south and southwest coasts of the UK have also joined the Best Choice list due to new science showing healthy population levels. Tuna, one of the nation’s favourite tinned fish, remained largely unchanged. Tuna has mixed ratings depending on where and how it is caught, so the advice is to always check the Good Fish Guide. Generally, the best options are albacore and skipjack caught by pole and line or troll. Queen scallops moved off the Fish to Avoid list and are now amber rated while scampi and langoustine stay an OK choice if trawled, or Best Choice if pot caught. POPPIES FOUNDER PAT ‘POP’S NEWLAND DIES London-based fish and chip shop chain Poppies has announced the sad news that their founder, Pat ‘Pops’ Newland, has passed away. The announcement was made on the company’s social media pages on April 4th, in which staff said they were “heartbroken” at the news. A born-and-bred Eastender, Pops’ career started in 1952 when, aged 11, he got a job on Roman Road cutting up old newspapers to wrap fish and chips in. He opened his first Poppies in Spitalfields before expanding to Soho and Camden. Staff described him as a legendary figure in the community who took immense joy in meeting people everyday, sharing stories of his life with locals and customers from all walks of life. On social media, staff said: “It was always Pat’s dream to open his very own shop to sell the greatest fish and chips in London - that Poppies is known not just in London but all over the world was a source of immense pride to him, and we hope to continue his legacy and make him proud everyday. “Pat’s cheeky and charming personality will be dearly missed by all and never forgotten.”

Platten’s Fish & Chips in Wells-next-the-Sea, Norfolk, is taking part in a national trial of a four-day working week. The restaurant and takeaway, which employs up to 50 staff during its peak summer months, starts the pilot in June with staff dropping from 40 hours a week to 32 hours while getting paid exactly the same amount of money. Manager Luke Platten hopes the move will bring about a better work-life balance for staff and, in turn, improve productivity and customer service. “It’s a fantastic opportunity to be part of the pilot scheme,” says Luke. “It demonstrates to the team howmuch we value them and gives us an opportunity to have a good shot at a work-life balance.” Luke was inspired after reading The 4 Day Week , in which author Andrew Barnes conducted an experiment in his own business in New Zealand that found staff are only productive for around 2.5 hours out of their day. “We thought if we could incentivise and challenge our staff to think differently and change the way they do things to be more productive in the day, in return what we’ll do is give them back free time.” Platten’s has joined the pilot scheme, run by 4 Day Week Global, having introduced a similar initiative last year in which staff moved to a two day on, two day off shift pattern to help protect teams working through Covid. Luke comments: “The team was absolutely blown away by it because suddenly in the middle of August in a coastal resort they were getting time off at the weekends to go to BBQs or spend time with their families. So when this trial came up we jumped at the opportunity to be part of it. “Obviously we are a seven day a week business, so we can’t give everyone Friday, Saturday and Sunday off, but what we’ll do as of June is say you’re currently doing four 10 hour days, we’re going to pay you exactly the same but do eight hours a day.” Luke is confident the trial will have a positive impact on his business, even in light of a raft of price increases. He adds: “We have been asked how on earth can we give away more when we are getting price increases from every direction. But our stance on that is, yes, prices are going up but customers are still looking for value for money. What we’re doing is offering a better customer experience because we’re more efficient and our staff are happier. We’re based on making memories at Platten’s and this is a real opportunity to pull it all together for us. “If our staff have a good work-life balance, we’ll benefit from that.” It is hoped the initiative will also help improve recruitment and retention within the business, with Luke adding: “A lot of people have moved away from hospitality because it has had a bad reputation and I think companies do have to look at different ways of encouraging people back into the industry. It is really enjoyable if the right structure and support are in place. “As a local employer, we’re really looking forward to giving this a shot and we hope it opens up more opportunities for more local people to come and join our team.”



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