South West seafood restaurant group, Rockfish, has launched a range of tinned seafood that’s been caught in Britain.
Rockfish founder Mitch Tonks has invested around £200,000 to help find a market for seafood landed near his base in Brixham, Devon. It will be the first range in Britain caught direct from fishers, including The Rockfisher, the company’s own boat.
Tonks told Business Live: “I have always been fascinated by tinned seafood, the amazing products from Portugal and Spain that we just don’t have here… We have tinned pilchards, tuna and salmon but nothing like the range you see on the continent. So, I started thinking, how do I go about it?”
Although Tonks is considering setting up his own cannery, seafood caught in Brixham will be tinned in Spain. It follows the brand’s home-cooking seafood concept launched during the pandemic lockdown.
Tinned seafood on sale from Rockfish includes Rockfish Mounts Bay Sardines (chilli, olive oil or escabeche flavoured), Rockfish Cantabrian Tuna, Rockfish Brixham Cuttlefish, Rockfish Brixham Bay Mackerel, and Rockfish Lyme Bay Mussels. It can all be ordered direct from the website.
The website explains: “The magic of Rockfish tinned seafood is that it’s the first range in Britain, direct from our fishermen, harvested and preserved in peak condition at the right time. We catch and source fresh seafood direct from the South Coast of England, which is then cooked slowly for maximum flavour and marinated in delicious oils and sauces which are truly wonderful even if you enjoy them simply just with crusty bread, mopping up every last drop from the tin. It’s a moment of pure luxury.”
Rockfish will also expand its restaurant chain from eight to ten sites by spring next year. A new restaurant in Sidmouth was given the green light by planning chiefs in February 2020 but was delayed due to the pandemic. Plans for a 100-seater £1m restaurant in Salcombe is currently with the South Hams planning authority.
Tonks also touched on the staff shortages hitting hospitality businesses, stressing that flexibility was crucial for survival. “We have to accept that the staff shortage is not going to go away, and businesses have to think about what they can offer staff in order to recruit and retain them,” he said. “The world changed in 2019 and we are never going back.”
Find out more about Rockfish at therockfish.co.uk.