Thursday 26 April 2018

Friday's Good for fish sellers buoyed by horse-meat fiasco

Sisters Margaret, left, and Imelda Buckley at their fish stall on Dublin’s Moore Street.
Sisters Margaret, left, and Imelda Buckley at their fish stall on Dublin’s Moore Street.
Breda Heffernan

Breda Heffernan

FISH is firmly on the menu as the horse-meat scandal has turned many consumers off meat and processed foods.

Fishmongers around the country had their busiest day of the year as the Catholic faithful followed Good Friday tradition by abstaining from meat and instead tucking into some fish for dinner.

Holy Week is the equivalent of the pre-Christmas rush for fish retailers and is the biggest single week for fish sales in Ireland.

Supermarket chain Super- Valu said it sold over €1m of fish in the run up to Good Friday – double the sales of a normal week. However, many retailers said there has been an increase in the popularity of fish in the wake of the horse meat scandal.

"They know that fish comes straight from the sea – with meat you don't know where it's come from," said Margaret Buckley, who has been selling fish on Dublin's Moore Street for over 40 years.

She and her sister Imelda have seen an increase in demand from shoppers, with many saying they were put off buying meat products because they were worried about what they were eating.

"Our fish is that fresh, the seagulls come down and take it.

They're our best customers, they love us so much, but they rob it from us," laughed Margaret.

Ray, mackerel, seabass and seabream were all popular with her customers, with many asking for cooking tips.

"There's nothing like the Irish way of cooking fish – deep frying it in batter," said Margaret.

Queues While the sisters were kept busy yesterday, Margaret said Good Friday is no longer the institution it once was.

"I've been here over 40 years.

It used to be a day when people would only eat fish, but now with the way religion has gone, you don't go to Mass, you don't keep the fast." At Wright's of Marino in Dublin, queues formed from early in the day with cod, salmon and mackerel the most in-demand fish.

Maria Salvador was kept busy serving the steady stream of customers and agreed fishmongers have enjoyed an increase in business following the horsemeat controversy.

"It has grown a bit, people are buying more fish lately. You do notice a difference," she said.

SuperValu said salmon was still the number one fish choice for Irish consumers, although it has seen sales of hake increase by a third in the past two years.

Rainbow trout is up 40pc as are sales of haddock and whiting.

It said all of these varieties are available in Irish waters throughout the year.

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