Fabulous, fresh Cornish fish!

Fresh, locally caught fish is one of the many things that makes the Pandora Inn so special and you won’t be surprised to hear that it always sells incredibly well! In addition to the classic pub dishes always on offer, like our beer-battered fish and chips, we always have plenty of fresh fish dishes on the specials board changing daily to suit whatever is available at the time.

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Almost all our fish comes from W. Stevenson & Son of Newlyn. It’s a company we’ve dealt with for years, but had never visited them, so last month, we headed west and go and see their set up at first hand.

Stevenson & Sons have been in the fishing business for over 100 years and have the largest privately owned fleet in Britain, operating out of Newlyn harbour in the far south west of Cornwall. As they have their own fleet of boats they have control over the entire process, from catching the fish, washing, icing and storage to final sale.

Today, their core fleet consists of 13 beam trawlers fishing out of Newlyn every day. Stevensons are the biggest provider of jobs in the local community and their commitment to Newlyn and their pride in their heritage was great to see.

Craig Crosbie, General Sales Manager, showed us around some of their boats in the harbour, which was really interesting, and we chatted to some of the fishermen.

Stevensons take the whole business of accreditation very seriously, which is something we spend a lot of time on at the Pandora too. Their fleet is ‘Responsible Fishing Scheme’ (RFS) accredited which ensures high standards of fish catching, landing, quality and vessels are maintained.

At any one time their boats can have as many as 25 to 30 different species aboard ready to be landed and sold on the market. As well as catching and landing the fish, Stevensons also run the Newlyn fish auction that runs Monday to Friday from 6.30am – not a time of day that we’d want to start work!

A chef’s hours tend to be at the opposite end of day, so we didn’t get to Newlyn in time to see the auction, but had a good look round their packing plant and that was fascinating, the skills of the guys doing the filleting with thin, razor sharp knives was incredible to watch. There was a fantastic array of fresh fish there – from beautiful, bright, fresh sea bass to scallops, hake (one of my favourites), haddock and red mullet – and lots of other varieties too.

Sales Executive, Ian Oliver, laid out an amazing display for us to photograph and his and Craig’s enthusiasm for the fish was great to see. Ian also runs their Twitter and Facebook channels and does a great job of letting everyone know what’s just been landed – it’s all so instant and totally fresh. Ian picked out a just–caught sea bass and showed me its tag recording where it was caught, at what time and by which boat – full traceability – impressive. We also finally got to meet Julia Fox, their immensely knowledgeable Sales Manager, whom we talk to almost every day to order our fish, but had never met.

Stevenson & Sons are a great team, very friendly and professional and happy to give up their time to show us round and answer questions. We’ve always admired their fish, but see it in an even more positive light now we know all the hard work that goes on down in Newlyn.

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