With Glasgow diners sampling the ocean’s lesser-known offerings, the city’s seafood scene is buoyant
As the people of Glasgow tuck themselves in to bed, the day is just beginning for those who keep the city well stocked with seafood. Whether you’re eating hand-dived scallops from Mull, blue-shell mussels from Shetland or a fillet of haddock from Peterhead, you can be sure that a lot of work has gone into getting it from the ocean to your plate.
Scotland’s seafood industry was worth £1 billion in 2011. Although Scotland has a reputation across the globe for high-quality seafood – much of it exported to over 100 countries – a healthy proportion of it still makes its way to the mouths and stomachs of happy Scots. The country’s shores are surrounded by thousands of different species, yet for a long time, Scots were only really interested in a handful of them. If it wasn’t cod, haddock or whiting, and if it wasn’t either covered in batter or served with a slice of lemon, then it wasn’t even known here.
Bernard Corrigan, whose seafood business has been running for over 60 years, believes that the mass shortage of those traditional fish a few years ago impacted on the UK’s tastes, forcing consumers to think about trying lesser-known, more sustainable and often tastier seafood. ‘The situation caused a bit of pain at the time,’ says Corrigan, who runs three shops and supplies many restaurants and chains around the city. ‘However, in the long run it’s been good for the industry, it’s good for conservation and it allows people to have variety in their diets.’
Perhaps it’s for this reason that Glasgow has developed a real taste for fresh, prime seafood in recent years. Fish restaurants make up some of the best eateries in town, with places such as Crabshakk and The Finnieston springing up to join the ranks of long-standing stalwarts such as Rogano and Gamba. It’s a trend that – as long as we look after our oceans – isn’t likely to be going away any time soon. After all, there really are plenty more fish in the sea.