Plaice – local catch in Workington
The season for plaice is quite a short one, often at their best for around four weeks of the year. Having spent the summer fattening up they are ripe for catching from now until October when they spawn. They are a good catch from the Irish Sea and, like every other fisherman, we have a licence. Our licence allows us to catch 3 tonnes of plaice per month.
Did you know there is a ‘Plaice box’ just off Whitehaven? It’s a specified breeding ground designated by the North West Inshore Fisheries Conservation Authority NWIFCA, which is one of 10 IFCAs managing and regulating fishing in English coastal waters. There’s quite a lot of conversation at the moment about the location for designated fish breeding grounds and I’m not sure it’s they’re quite the right place yet, but wherever located, fishermen have to be diligent and fish for plaice with a trawl net and a 110mm cod end to make sure the juvenile place get through.
Plaice is a common name used for a group of flat fish. There are four species in the group, but the one fished in our waters is the European Plaice, characterised by their smooth brown skin, with distinctive red spots and bony ridge behind the eyes. At night they move into shallow waters to feed, and during the day they bury themselves in the sand.
Have you tried Plaice: What about a Ham and Cheese Plaice Schnitzel? We first tried it on a trip to Germany: Fillet and skin the fish then batter it and fry. Add your ham and cheese and enjoy the flavours and textures. If you prefer your plaice as a simpler dish, why not add a touch of home-made Gooseberry Mouse – the sharp berry flavour really enhances the fish.
We had a good reaction to last month’s Lobster story, thanks to those who came through to our fishmongers on Clay Flatts, Workington (just past Matalan) to buy them. If you’re after fresh plaice caught by West Cumbrian fishing boats, don’t forget to come and see us or catch us at local markets in Egremont and Cleator Moor.
Our boat the Rachel Claire is soon to be back in the water after a new coat of paint …. You’ll find out more about that next month.