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Milford Fish Docks pop-up school of fish shows seafood is back on the menu

04 March 2016

Training sessions hosted at the Milford Fish Docks have proved a huge success with business owners and enthusiasts from across West Wales at the fully booked pop-up school of fish filleting.

The workshops, held in Wales’ biggest fishing port, were primarily aimed at the hospitality industry, local fishermen, processors and fishmongers who want to hone their skills and learn how to add value to their products. The courses were delivered by the Seafood Training Network Wales with support and funding from the Food and Drink Wales Welsh Seafood Cluster, Seafish and the Seafood Training Academy.

The classes were held in Milford Fish Docks’ new purpose-built food processing unit on the quayside. Alaric Churchill, Trading and Business Development Manager at the Port of Milford Haven, which owns and operates the Docks, said the courses ticked every box for the hosts. “We believe there’s huge potential for local businesses to add value to the high quality catches landed in Milford Fish Docks,” said Alaric. “We’ve already seen a new fish smokery open in one of our units. It’s clear the market is crying out for local seafood products and we are investing to stimulate that interest and translate it into further jobs and investment here in Milford Haven and across the region.”

Many of those taking part in the training said their wish to better their skills simply reflected the growing interest from their own customers in fresh fish and seafood.

Carol and Annalise Davies travelled to Milford Fish Docks from Crosshands in Carmarthenshire to sharpen their filleting skills. “We work for cnwd, a small but growing business producing high quality patés, terrines and smoked local fish,” explained Annalise. “We are getting really busy and more of our team need to know how to prepare fish, so that we can keep up with orders,” she added. It was a similar story for Claire Treharne from Carmarthen. She opened Towy Fishmongers in the market a year ago. “We couldn’t get tasty, fresh fish and I knew that was frustrating a lot of locals so I decided to open the fishmongers. It is going really well but customers keep asking me how to prepare fish! As the owner I thought I needed to know how to do it.”

Peter Kearney from UKRS Training said the course was busy because the nation is falling back in love with fresh fish again. However, he saw that people were having to rediscover a lost skill. “Shoppers became used to getting fish portions from the supermarkets and within one generation we lost the skills everyone would have had in my parents’ day,” he said. “Now people want to get stuck in, to buy, prepare and cook fresh fish and the fact we are so busy today is proof it’s really taking off.”

Dr Holly Whiteley, Seafish Wales project manager, said “The positive feedback we’ve received on these workshops and the huge amount of interest in further, more advanced filleting courses is really encouraging. There is clearly a growing demand for this type of training and the Seafood Training Network Wales is well placed to deliver this for the Welsh seafood industry. The Network will be consulting industry in Wales about an on-going programme of training courses and workshops shortly”.

For further information about opportunities at Milford Fish Docks, including available food grade units, please contact Alaric Churchill on 01646 696100 or alaric.churchill@mhpa.co.uk