Working Closely With Suppliers

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The Head Chef at The Magpie Cafe discusses the benefits of an FSFL licence.

Hello, my
name is Paul Gildroy. I am the Head Chef of The Magpie Café Seafood Restaurant
in Whitby, North Yorkshire and also the Manager of The Magpie’s Whitby Catch
Fishmongers.

I am the
main fish/shellfish buyer for both businesses and regularly buy on both Whitby
and Scarborough Fish Markets whilst liaising closely with my wet fish supplier
for the bulk of my fish which during the busy season can use in excess of 80
stone (500 kilos) per day plus shellfish such as lobsters and crab.

Quality is
paramount to our business so being able to buy via auction allows me to bid for
the very best fish available and gives me full traceability, which for our
restaurant and fishmongers is very important as customers are increasingly
wanting to know where the fish was caught, the name of the boat and occasionally
even the name of the skipper.

Having a
license to buy fish via auction gives me more control over my menu and control
over the size and quality of fish which I buy.

We also
hold a First Sale Fish License (FSFL), a license to buy fish direct from boats
that hold a fishing license and have quota to fish. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/register-as-a-buyer-or-seller-of-first-sale-marine-fish

Restaurants
holding this type of license could be of benefit to local fishermen in coastal
villages or towns that don’t have a fish auction on their doorstep, giving them
an extra outlet for their catch.

You are
required by law to keep a record of species of fish, weights and prices paid.

For us, holding
an FSFL gives us the opportunity to build a strong relationship with local
fishermen giving us the pick of the catch, knowing that the fish or shellfish
that they catch is the freshest it can be from sea to table or sea to counter
in a matter of hours – again this gives us full traceability.

You also
find that you work more closely with the fishermen on seasonality and even
targeting certain species of fish that are synonymous for that area of coastline.

Holding an
FSFL can save you money whilst still giving the boat fair prices for the fish
or shellfish that you are buying. The skipper will have a fair idea of what the
prices should be and if the skipper is happy with what he is getting, then
there’s more of a chance that he will keep fishing – hopefully introducing
others to fishing and keeping this traditional industry alive and kicking.