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Seagan

There is sea of information (no pun intended!) out there about healthy eating and the impact of food production versus sustainability.

Many people are looking for ways to make changes to their diet that won’t cost the earth – and seaganism is reported to be the latest trend which could potentially fulfil those needs.

So, what is Seaganism? 

Seaganism is a diet combining fish with a plant-based diet. It differs from pescatarianism in that a seagan diet does not include eggs or dairy and there is an emphasis on only eating fish that is sustainably sourced.

The term ‘seaganism’ was first coined in 2016 by food writers Amy Cramer and Lisa McComsey, the duo behind The Vegan Cheat Sheetbook and the movement has grown in popularity over the last couple of years.

In February 2019 the UK’s leading authority on seafood, Seafish, announced a new campaign Think Seagan.

Healthy Lifestyle & Dietary Choice

The campaign showcases why the diet is a healthy lifestyle and dietary choice, providing enhanced nutritional value and Seafish has produced a variety of materials suggesting new and innovative ways to consume and enjoy fish as part of the campaign.

This includes a seagan ‘starter’ kit, 28-day seagan meal plan, seagan recipes including how-to videos, and a store cupboard guide to the vegan essentials. There is also a range of educational tools, such as seafood fact and myth sheets.

Think Seagan

Marcus Coleman, Chief Executive of Seafish, said: “The health benefits of eating seafood are well documented and coupled with the benefits of a plant-based diet, seagansim presents a sustainable, tasty and flexible diet for people of all ages and stages of life.

“Our Think Seagan campaign will inspire and educate those looking to make changes to their diet.”

Joanna Stewart, Registered Dietitian, added: “The Eatwell Guide produced by Food Standards Scotland shows us the different types of foods we should eat, and in what proportions, to have a healthy, balanced diet. 

“It recommends we should be eating two portions of fish a week, one of which should be oily. In Scotland this means that most of us should be trying to increase our intake of fish and shellfish in line with current guidance. 

“Shellfish in particular, are low in fat, especially low in saturated fat and are an excellent source of protein. Some types of shellfish such as mussels, oysters and crabs, are good sources of Omega- 3 fats, which help prevent heart disease. Shellfish also contain a variety of vitamins and minerals including selenium, zinc, iodine, copper and vitamin B12 which are all essential for good health.”

Get Started 

For more information on Think Seagan or to download materials visit: www.fishisthedish.co.uk/health/think-seagan

winter is coming

Summer is over

I am writing on a brisk Shetland autumn day, which anyone might mistake for a full-blown winter’s gale in more southerly climates.  As often as not up here, the weather snaps from summer to winter in one fell swoop and the summer seems very much behind us now.   Despite southern parts of Britain getting a final flourish of heat, we seem to be lined up for several weeks of gales and cool temperatures of 7 degrees or below.  So, I’m calling it - summer is over.

Unique shellfish

It is however the cold temperatures and cold sea water that make our shellfish unique.  So, getting into this part of the season has its benefits and it is one of the best times of the year for the mussels themselves. They have just had a long summer of warm days, plenty of plankton to eat to build up their meats and followed by the current cooler conditions for harvesting mean they should be getting to market in top condition right now.

winter is coming

Visitors

Despite the cooler conditions, we have had a few visitors to the sites lately with the first being the board of Food Standards Scotland making the trip north to find out more about how we farm.  We discussed their sampling programme and how that works to classify our areas and ensure plankton blooms over the summer cannot cause the shellfish to become unsafe to eat.  We also talked about the extra work and testing we do on every harvest, to make sure all the shellfish we harvest are safely farmed and sustainable.  It was a really useful day and was great they made the effort to come up and see us.

winter is coming

Fresh mussels for the Chefs

The following week we had a delegation from Seafood Scotland, who had invited a group of Chefs up from the UK Mainland to also get the chance to see what we do.  We were able to show them the farms and also the factory where Scottish Shellfish boxes up the mussels for the wholesale markets.  They were keen to get their hands on some shells and take them up to the local award-winning restaurant Frankie’s and try their own recipes with product still dripping with seawater.  They too seemed to enjoy the visit and hopefully went back fully inspired to use our shellfish in their daily menus.

winter is coming

Autumn harvesting

Moving through autumn we expect to mainly be harvesting, getting the sites battened down for the rest of the winter and planning for next year’s spring spat input.  You can follow Shetland Mussels on twitter for more regular updates of farm happenings @ShetlandMussels

Sustainability

Sustainability. It’s a word that is bandied around a lot these days. And at Scottish Shellfish it’s at the very heart of what we do. But do you know what it actually means?

A fragile balance

Today, we’re very aware of environmental issues. We’re bombarded with shocking pictures of wildlife (birds, seals and fish in particular) festooned or swathed in plastic waste that we’ve simply discarded, which threatens their wellbeing and potentially their very existence. But does our awareness translate into action?

Sustainability defined

When it comes to the environment, it’s clear our global practices need to change. You can read the science bit here but the basic definition of sustainability – one which we can all understand – is the creation, build and use of items and organisations which won’t damage our environment or our society, in a bid to protect our future and our children’s future.

But more than simply understanding the definition of sustainability, it’s important that we take the time to consider the consequences of our current global behaviour if it continues unchecked. The scale of the problem we face can be daunting, but we can all do our bit to arrest, if not reverse the damage done.

Scotland at the forefront

When it comes to seafood and Scottish seafood in particular, sustainability is key. Thanks to our cold, clear waters, as a nation our seafood and our shellfish are amongst the most celebrated. Here’s some stats which might surprise you…

  • Scotland is one of the largest seafood producers in Europe
  • Scottish seafood (via the Scottish Development International) was the official partner of the World Gourmet Summit in Singapore in 2016
  • We’ve got one of the most modern fishing fleets in Europe
  • Over two thirds of the world’s langoustines are sourced from Scottish waters.

And we’re no slackers either when it comes to the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) accreditations.

What is the MSC?

Scotland holds more Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) accreditations than most EU countries. Established in London in 1997, the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) exists to ensure that global fisheries commit to sustain stocks in the wild instead of aquaculture farmed fish.  MSC-certified fish is now available in a total of 97 countries, and 10% of all wild seafood is now being caught to the MSC standard.

Sustainability at Scottish Shellfish

It’s easy to understand why, as UK's premier producer of finest quality shellfish, Scottish Shellfish take sustainability so seriously. Our rope grown mussels are a great example of sustainability in practice. We suspend ropes from floats in the sea. Once the ropes are in place, our intervention stops. The young mussels settle naturally on our ropes and then grow simply by feeding on sea plankton. They don’t require any other feed source. Because they grow by suspension, there’s no dredging which means they’re grit free when harvested.

When it comes to oysters, cultivation is similar, although instead of using ropes, we grow them in special mesh bags held on trestles in the inter-tidal zone. With an extremely low carbon footprint, our mussels and our oysters are arguably one of the most environmentally friendly food products around.

Do your bit

You don’t just have to take our word for it. Our oyster and mussel farms are independently certified by the Friend of the Sea. When you buy your seafood from us you’re doing your bit for the environment.

Now you’re here, take some time to browse our site, read our blog, and check out our recipes, safe in the knowledge that you’re making responsible choices which will help all of us secure the future of our seas.

Shellfish and Guinness

Scottish Shellfish and Guinness? With the exception of oysters, perhaps it’s not the most obvious choice. But sometimes the most surprising combinations can be the most delicious…

Celtic connections

As St Patrick’s Day looms, it’s not just Celtic connections that we Scots and Irish share. We both have a long history of making the most of our natural produce, and exporting our proud traditions.

Guinness

One proud Irish tradition is the brewing of Guinness. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, there’s no doubt you’ve heard of Guinness. Originally brewed in Dublin in 1759, it’s the national tipple.  What you may not know is that (unlike other stouts or dark beers) Guinness is proven to have some health-giving qualities. The anti-oxidants it contains can help reduce blood clots and the risk of heart attacks.

A healthy and delicious combination

At a time when we’re bombarded with ever-more confusing dietary advice, it’s good to know that the health benefits of shellfish are also undisputed. Scottish shellfish and Guinness is a healthy and surprisingly delicious combination. So, why not push the boat out this St Patrick’s Day and try it for yourself? You don’t even need to go out to eat; there are lots of great shellfish recipes which you can wash down with a pint of the famous dark beer.

The ultimate fast food

Lots of people associate shellfish with high days and holidays. It’s certainly true that a brace of fresh oysters, a feast of tangy brown crabmeat or the taste of world-renowned lobster are an undeniable treat. But the seas and sea lochs of our west coast give us an embarrassment of riches when it comes to shellfish. Which means you don’t need to think of them only as a luxury, they’re more accessible than you think.

And as shellfish by their very nature require minimal cooking, they are the ultimate fast food. Why not consider making them an integral part of your diet? There are lots of simple, delicious recipes on our website. Whether you want to cook mussels, oysters, langoustines, crab or lobster – you’ll find something healthy, delicious and quick on our recipes page.

Unusual combinations

Don’t be afraid to try some more of our unusual and delicious combinations. Mussels for example lend themselves to a surprising variety of beverages such as white beer, prosecco, and even gin and tonic.  We’re continually adding to the recipes on our site, so check back every week for the latest combinations which are surprisingly easy to make.

Remember to drink responsibly. Happy St Patrick’s Day. Cheers!

Grilled oysters

Sacrilege?

Long-time advocates of Seafood will think of this next experiment (grilled oysters) as sacrilege but as I believe many people, like me, struggle with the notion of ‘shooting back’ raw oysters.  I wanted to try another method of preparation so at least I could try them.

On the Beach

From this trial in my kitchen I couldn’t get over the amazing smell from the grill as I cooked these, if I closed my eyes I could swear I was standing beside a smoky barbeque on the beach – not sheltered inside from the rain!

Top Tip

Practice is required when shucking (opening) oysters and you can’t be too careful. Despite watching several YouTube videos I still managed to cut my hand – not my finest moment! I recommend using a thick or folded towel to protect the hand holding the oyster and to give more grip. Also use the flat edge of a small knife, not the cutting edge.

Method

  • Place your shucked oysters on a baking sheet or grill pan and be careful not to lose too much of their internal water and ‘juice’ in the process;
  • In a dish, prepare a cheese, mayo and smoked paprika mix. I used a mix of cheddar and mozzarella but you could use any melting cheese including parmesan. The paprika gives good flavour, colour and smell with the mayo used to lightly bind them all.
  • Place a teaspoon of mixture on top of each oyster and grill on a medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes until golden and bubbling.

Some people say it’s easier to shuck oysters once they have been on the grill for a while and boiled up inside.  You may want to try that first, but warning, these shells get HOT even after a minute or so under the grill.

This recipe was developed by Foodie Nicola (Nikki) Reid, you can get her on Twitter here.  If you would like your recipe featured on our website get in touch.