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Best of Local: 10 independent fishmongers offering fresh produce during lockdown

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Fancy home-made fish and chips or lobster for a special occasion? Use our guide to the 10 of the best local fishmongers open for business in your area.

They’re an ever rarer sight on our high streets these days – the local fishmongers with produce fresh off the boat, hand-filleted on the premises and sitting on ice, ready to be purchased by “regulars” who enjoy a natter with the staff.

Although we’re now more used to buying fish vacuum-packed in the supermarket, there are still a few of these traditional shops left in Tayside and the north of Scotland.

During lockdown many have been doing roaring trade as people avoid the stress of busy supermarkets and turn to local businesses instead.

One such fishmonger is Alex Spink and Sons, with branches in Dundee, Arbroath and Blairgowrie, all of which have been inundated with orders over the past couple of months.

Owner Tina Tippet said: “Business has been going really, really well actually.

“We’re a lot busier than usual. At the start of lockdown we did have to close for three weeks because we were finding it very difficult to get fish from the boats as they weren’t docking locally, but now that’s been sorted.

“We started doing deliveries which have been really popular, so we’ve had to take on two extra delivery drivers to help, especially for Fridays, which is fish day for a lot of people. Otherwise it’s just myself and another member of staff in the shop.

“We’ve had loads of orders for crabs and lobster that we don’t normally stock on a daily basis, so I’ve had to order them in. I think it’s because people aren’t able to get out to a restaurant for special occasions like birthdays, so they’re cooking something a bit more special at home.

Some of the produce on offer at Alex Spink and Sons

“We’re delivering to households in Dundee, Carnoustie, Monifieth, Longforgan and other areas. People are ordering over the phone or by messaging us through the Facebook page, which has been working well.

“We’re now starting to see more people coming into the shops too. I think people have been stuck at home for so long that they’re keen to get out more. We only let two into the shops at a time, and people have been understanding and supportive of this.”

Further north, Aberdeen-based Granite City Fish has also had to adapt by starting deliveries after the wholesale side of the business disappeared overnight as the restaurants, pubs and hotels closed.

Luckily, owner Ed Fletcher already had vans that were fully kitted out for deliveries as well as a loyal customer base due to his long-standing involvement with farmers’ markets in Aberdeenshire.

“I’ve been very active in the markets for 20 years and our loyal customers have continued to support us,” he said.

Ed Fletcher

“People were asking if we were doing deliveries, so we started doing them. I’ve already got the vans that I sell the fish from at the markets, so I used those to do the deliveries.

“This has really saved us, I haven’t had to furlough any staff because we’ve been able to keep going and keep busy.

“We’ve got a range of orders, haddock is always popular but we’ve also seen a lot of demand for crab and langoustines. We’ve been encouraging people to post their dishes that they’ve cooked on our Facebook page, that has gone down well. There’s a real community feel about it.”

If you’d like to try some fresh seafood, have a look at our round up of 10 local fishmongers open for business throughout Tayside, Fife, Aberdeenshire and the Highlands…

Alex Spink and Sons, Tayside

With branches in Dundee’s Lochee area, Arbroath and Blairgowrie, this family business specialises in making Arbroath smokies the traditional way over an oak-wood fire, as well as selling a wide range of popular fish such as haddock and rarer seafood delicacies. The shops are open for walk-ins with social distancing in place, as well as home deliveries.

Ferry Fish, Dundee

Based in the Broughty Ferry area of Dundee, this independent fishmonger is one of only a few of its kind still trading in the city. It is open from 9-3 Tuesday to Friday and 9-2 on a Saturday.

Granite City Fish, Aberdeen

A small, family-run business, Granite City Fish offers a wide range of fresh and smoked fish, both in-store and for home delivery during lockdown. Orders for delivery are taken over the phone or through messaging the business’s Facebook page.

Countesswells Fish Shop, Aberdeen

The fish sold here is sourced from Peterhead, with the fresh scallops getting rave reviews. There is also a variety of delicacies such as lobster, crab and langoustine. The shop is open for business during lockdown, including some deliveries.

Duncan Fraser Fish and Game, Inverness

Established in 1927, the business is still going strong today. During lockdown they’re doing home deliveries after receiving requests from their regular customers for this service. The deliveries are on a Wednesday afternoon and include the Drumnardrochit, Milton and Lewiston areas.

Pro Fish, Aviemore

This award-winning family-run business prides itself on offering fresh local produce and employing staff with a combined experience of 60 years in the seafood industry. On Fish Friday, Pro Fish’s van makes its rounds to areas including Culloden, Kirkhill, Buncrew and others. Their shop is also open from 10am-4pm, or you can order online.

The Fish Kettle, Cupar

With fresh deliveries of scallops, tuna steaks, lemon sole, rainbow trout, hake and a variety of shellfish, as well as a well-stocked cheese counter, the Fish Kettle has been a popular spot for food shopping during lockdown. There are lots of ranges and good deals to be had on “Fishy Fridays”.

C.Sinclair, Burntisland

This fish merchant deals directly with local fishing boats, with staff smoking and filleting the fish by hand on the premises. During lockdown they’re taking orders via their website or over the phone, with a different range of products available every week.

George Campbell Fishmonger, Perth

As Perth city’s only remaining family-run fishmongers, George Campbell’s is popular with locals and offers a wide range of fresh fish from Scottish shores, imported exotic species, hand-dived scallops, rope grown mussels, and Scottish oysters, as well as recipe ideas on their website and Facebook pages, with online orders for delivery also available.

HS Murray Fishmongers, Inverkeithing

This independent fishmongers is taking orders over the phone for free local delivery during lockdown. They are also encouraging customers to send in photos of the dishes they’ve made using the produce, which are then published on the business’s Facebook page.

Read more in this series…