Updated: Oct 15, 2019
Rockfish Brixham has invited its customers to name a fishing boat that has started supplying its restaurants with all of its daily catch.
Owner Mitch Tonks has teamed up with skipper Nick Rich to get the day boat out to sea, marking the first step towards a commercial fishing alliance to supply its restaurants, something that has been one of Mitch’s goals since opening the first Rockfish in Dartmouth in 2010.
There are six names in the running so far for the vessel, including The Endeavour, Dream Catcher, Salma and Pioneer 1. Brixtoni and Rockfisher are the final two.
The entire daily catch from the boat is being landed, processed at Rockfish’s facility in Brixham and sent to its restaurants the same day. Complementing the fish it already sources from Brixham Fish Market, as well as elsewhere, Mitch says the move to catch its own fish enables its restaurants to offer an “incredible selection and variety” while keeping the fish close to its source. He hopes the project will eventually lead to a point whereby all the fish sold by Rockfish is caught by its own boats.
Mitch adds: “With a beautiful boat and the infectious enthusiasm from skipper Nick, it’s a very exciting partnership, bringing fish of such great quality ourselves direct to our customers on the same day and with close to zero food miles, it really is a dream come true for us.
“Nick shares the same ethos as we do when it comes to quality and sustainability. I think there is something unique and truly wonderful about fish restaurants working directly with fishermen, it's so important to be as close to the source as possible."
Skipper Nick adds: “In Britain we export 75% of what we catch from our seas, and import 80% of the fish that we eat like prawns, tuna, cod and salmon. Basically, we don’t eat our own fish. This has always struck me as immensely sad. Why do we export all the good stuff - the brown crabs, velvet crabs, spider crabs, lobsters, gurnard, squid, cuttlefish, bass, black bream, monkfish, soles and delicious line caught mackerel? I want to see our fish; British fish, caught and enjoyed in this country, cooked, shucked, picked and devoured. I want it to be loved and cherished and that’s what we do on the Rockfish Trawler.
“We catch the best fish and we treat it in the most respectful and careful manner possible, so that when it leaves the hold of our trawler, iced in boxes each day, it could not be any fresher or in any finer condition. I was born to be at sea and the happiest person alive to be fortunate enough to be building a business around my passion. It’s not work, it’s my life.”
Mitch, Nick and a judging panel now have the final say on the boat’s name, with the winner being announced by the end of the month.