Sea Change: Speak to our suppliers

W e source the fish on our pub menus from Matthew Stevens, the St Ives fish merchant with a passion from sustainable fishing. He reveals the changes he's seen in species caught in Cornish waters...

Fishing has coursed through the veins of the Stevens family since the first world war. The clan is every bit at home on the water as they are in Newlyn's famous fish market, where they source most of the Cornish catch for our menus, along with freshly landed fish from dayboats that work the waters off St Ives, Cadgwith and Fowey. 

When he first began supplying us - a quarter of a century ago - Matthew specialised in three local species: lemon sole, haddock and monkfish. However, over the course of his 60-year career, he's seen a change in the species swimming off our shores. 

"It's the effect of climate change and the slight warming of the ocean in recent years" he explains. "Until recently I didn't know what a bluefin tuna looked like, but now there are lots of them off our shores. St Ives used to have an amazing summer mackerel season, but now the mackerel season is the winter. Species that were once plentiful, like herring, are no longer as abundant - they've gone to the North Sea now - and we are encountering more traditionally Mediterranean species such as red mullet, john dory and crayfish"


Fisherman holding freshly caught fish

Matthew and his team source seafood based on what's available locally, given the weather and seasons. They're committed to sourcing fish that have been caught using sustainable, traceable methods, and by fishermen who only catch what's needed (and well within the national recommended quotas.) To catch hake, for example, the fishermen use gillnets with mesh spacing larger than the legal requirement, so juveniles can slip through and remain in the water to reproduce. 

Our chefs work closely with Matthew to get inside track on what's being landed, the curate menus to work with the catch. Through this partnership, we ensure all our fish dishes, from family favourites to seafood specialties, are sourced and served with pride and provenance.  


Article from The Local, read the full issue online.