Country hooked as fish sales treble
Fish sales in the run up to Good Friday have trebled with Irish shoppers sticking firmly to tradition.
Hake in particular has proved a huge hit with shoppers with one fish supplier seeing a surge in demand from an average of 800 kilos to 14,000 kilos this week.
The country's oldest fish supplier, Dunns of Dublin, which has been selling fish since 1822, has seen sales of fish soar with workers on hand around the clock since last week to fill demand.
Ken Ecock, director of Dunns said sales of Hake had seen the greatest increase.
"There has been massive demand for hake. This weeks sales are up at 14,000 kilos when the norm would be 800 kilos on a week with no promotion. Five or six years ago there would be no interest in hake, now there are massive sales.
"In general demand for fish has trebled from what a normal week would be," he said.
The retailer supplies to stores across the country including SuperValu, Dunnes Stores and a number of independent stores. It has also seen a significant rise in demand for smoked salmon.
"We've been working 24 hours shifts since Wednesday of last week to get our deliveries out. The uplift is not just in our fresh fish, there's been a good uplift in our smoked salmon also. Easter Sunday is like a second Christmas and smoked salmon is always the starter of choice so it's a huge increase for us," he added. The tradition of fish on Good Friday is believed to have evolved culturally over many years. The Catholic Church has traditionally observed abstinence from meat on Friday but the rule of abstinence does not mention fish as a substitute.
Michael Deacy Jnr, who runs the oldest fish shop in Galway, Deacy's Fish shop on High Street, which has been in operation since 1916, said business has doubled over the past week.
"Sales have more than doubled this week, white fish is particularly popular. Yesterday and today will be the biggest day for sales and we've ordered almost double our normal fish order," he said.
Mr Deacy who is the fifth generation of his family to run the shop, revealed that their older customers would continue to buy fish every Friday and Wednesday but that across the board fish had become popular throughout the week.
He added that fish sales on average had increased across the board in the past six months. "There had been a dip but we're seeing it come back strong again."