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Slow Fish

Fast Food v Slow Food 

McDonald’s, Burger King and KFC…we are a generation which has grown up embracing the idea of ‘fast food’ on the go. However, armed with an increase in knowledge, more and more people are now starting to think about what is on their plate, where it has come from and how it has been sourced.

As a counter reaction to fast food - The Slow Food Movement (SFM), a grassroots organisation with supporters in over 150 countries around the world – is increasingly gaining momentum, and shellfish is on the menu.

Cultural Change

SFM started in Italy in the 1980s and is attempting to change the fast food culture, and in doing so, help small food producers and the environment. It focuses on locally prepared food that tastes good without harming the environment or your health.

The group believes that good food on your plate can only come from small producers and food produced in this way is better for the environment and also supports cultural diversity in a way that big scale farming does not.

Similar to the ethos of our work here at Scottish Shellfish, SFM is working to preserve “bio-diversity, food and environmental diversity…to educate people, and help the consumer to understand what is sustainable development and to help the small producer."

Slow Fish

Like Scottish Shellfish, SFM believes that small-scale fishers form an essential part of fragile aquatic ecosystems that must be protected along with the biodiversity of marine species. 

As a result SFM has launched the Slow Fish campaign, where they are working to promote artisanal fishing and neglected fish species and inspire reflection on the state and management of the sea’s resources, promoting responsible fish consumption around the world.

The campaign invites consumers, chefs, academics and fishers to find local solutions that support better management of the sea’s resources.

Eat More Shellfish

During the recent four-day Slow Fish biannual conference held in Geno, Italy, Massimo Bernacchini, a member of the Slow Food Italy Executive Committee, commented that: "It is increasingly evident that in order for the seas to continue to be food reserves, we must definitely change our habits - catch less and better, grow algae and eat more shellfish. 

“A true cultural leap in which Slow Food must take an important leading role by involving fishermen and breeders, cooks and consumers.

"To be able to sustainably tackle the increase in the world population while maintaining a still rich sea, we must aim at the lower part of the food chain, thus avoiding fish that are at the apex, such as tuna or swordfish in favour of bivalves, crustaceans, plankton and algae, which are very abundant.

“Only in this way will we be able to preserve resources for future generations and truly save our sea.”

Sea to Plate

Here at Scottish Shellfish we are proud that our cultivated mussels and oysters are amongst the most environmentally friendly food products around and are harvested from the pristine seas off the Scottish west coast and Shetland. We can trace the journey from sea to plate and our Scottish rope grown mussels are an excellent example of sustainable sourcing. 

Our mussels and oysters are a perfect example of ‘slow food!’ – sit back, taste and enjoy! 

For further information Scottish Shellfish and the environment click here.  

mussels and tomato and red pepper
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

Partan Bree
Shellfish Chowder
shellfish soup
mussels

Hi, I'm Alan Bryne. I'm a mussel farmer and I farm with my brother Lawrie on the West Coast of Scotland. We are producers of high-quality rope grown mussels, our farm is based near Fort William, Inverness-shire.

Optimum growing conditions

Our mussels are grown in the pure, plankton rich waters of the North Atlantic, free from contamination, which offers optimum growing conditions.

Our mussel farm was established in 1999, and we both enjoy looking after the farm and working on new innovations. The best thing about my job is when we harvest a good crop of great quality mussels for our customers to enjoy.

Hard part of the job

The hardest part of my job is having to deal with the ever-changing challenges that the wonderful mother nature throws at us! However, we are planning on doubling our production over the next few years, whilst keeping the excellent quality mussel we currently produce.

The future

Our future innovations are looking into optimising mussel growth and quality by using different farming locations for different growth stages of our mussels. Traditionally we would grow them from spat to harvest at the same location.

Our mussel farm operates a strict monitoring program, taking regular samples for testing in an accredited laboratory, ensuring our mussels are always safe to eat.

mussel

Fascinating facts about Scotland’s favourite shellfish . . .

Sales of mussels are on the increase, at home and abroad. You can see from our site how popular mussel recipes are and Scottish shellfish is celebrated the world over. Last year (2017) saw the first ever National Mussel Day. Using the hashtag #musselup, the campaign focused on raising the profile of mussels across social media. National Mussel Day was so successful that it’s here to stay. Sunday Oct 7 is National Mussel Day 2018. To celebrate, here are some fascinating facts about one of our most popular shellfish.

Did you know?

A much-loved mollusc

  • In Scotland (and across the North Atlantic) the most common mussel is the Blue Mussel (Mytilus Edulis).
  • Mussels can live for up to 50 years. We don’t tend to eat them at the end of their lives though! The average age of our mussels ready for consumption is 2.5 to 3 years.
  • Male and female mussels are different colours – the male is a creamy white and the female is an orangey colour.
  • When it comes to diet, mussels only eat plankton. To extract the plankton, in one day they can filter 65 litres of water.
  • Mussels produce liquids which set in seawater to form tough fibres called byssal threads or beards. These threads are five times stronger than a human tendon and can cling to a Teflon surface.
  • Mussels can defend themselves from predators such as the dog whelk, and other snails by tying them down with its byssal threads.
  • Mussels close their shells when the tide drops so that they don’t dry up when they’re out of the water.
  • Other than snails, mussels’ main predators are starfish and seabirds.
  • Like the oyster, mussels can also produce pearls. But these are limited to freshwater mussels and are much rarer.
  • Although it may look less than pristine, if the mussel shell is covered with barnacles this is usually a good sign that the mussel is wild, fresh and healthy.

History

  • Mussels have been used as a food source for more than 20,000 years. And many prehistoric settlements in Scotland have been identified by large mounds of mussel shells close by.
  • The first mussel farm dates back to the 8thcentury and was located in France.

Health

  • Mussels have the most impressive nutritional profile of all the shellfish. Consumption of mussels can help reduce inflammatory conditions such as arthritis. And the minerals they contain help build immunity.
  • Mussels are considered a brain food due to the high levels of vitamin B12 that they contain.
  • Mussels are chock full of protein, iron and folic acid. In fact, ounce for ounce, they contain more protein than beef stock.
  • They’re healthy in so many ways. 100g of mussels only contains 58 calories!

Cooking

  • Mussels have so much water within their shells that you don’t need to add water when you steam them.
  • Mussels need to be alive when you cook them. Don’t cook them if the shells are already open and don’t eat them if the shells remain closed after cooking.
  • Moules and frites (mussels and chips) is actually the national dish of Belgium, although more often associated with France.

Working up an appetite?

Yes, there’s more to the humble mussel than meets the eye. And is all this talk making you hungry? Don’t forget to check out our recipes and #musselup this October.

Happy National Mussel Day everyone!

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