A lesser-known, locally caught variety of fish will make its TV debut this Friday.
‘Sweaty Betty’ is otherwise known as the Greater Forkbeard and is one of a variety of lesser-known, locally-caught fish that local fishmongers are trying to promote in an effort to curtail the wasteful dumping of unwanted, locally caught fish.
Fisheries ministers in Europe are currently exploring ways to stop the discarding of edible fish. While much of the ongoing debate is focused on popular species caught above their quota limits, a substantial proportion of the by-catch is also composed of lesser-known species, which are not specifically targeted due to lack of market demand.
Stephane Griesbach, owner of Gannet Fishmongers, says that fish such as gurnard, octopus, blue ling and ‘Betty’, which are not exotic, just unfamiliar, are making their way onto Galway menus.
“With the help of some enthusiastic chefs, we have successfully introduced fish such as ‘Sweaty Betty’ on many Galway restaurants’ menus and started a local demand for such a particular species,” he said.
The name ‘Sweaty Betty’ comes from the local Aran Islands fishermen, and Mr Griesbach thinks that its local name will help customers remember the tasty fish more easily.
Marketing ‘Sweaty Betty’, blue ling or gurnard will no doubt prove more challenging that selling cod, salmon or whiting, but Mr Griesbach says monkfish used to be amongst those discarded fish and it is now one of the most popular species.
“Part of our commitment to the fishing industry is to educate and guide consumers toward a wider choice of available seafood. Those ‘new’ fish not only taste great, but are often much better value than the more in-demand species. Once a fish has no chance of making a recovery if released, it is common sense that it should be retained, marketed and consumed,” adds Mr Griesbach.
Stephane Griesbach, Gannet Fishmongers, and ‘Sweaty Betty’ will feature on ‘Nationwide’ on RTÉ One this Friday, 7 September at 7pm.