Do Fishmongers Deserve A Recognised Qualification?


Thank you to those who have read my previous two blogs on this subject. This is my final blog (for the moment) to discuss this subject. My intention with the blog is to really highlight the work that the Seafish industry and other bodies are doing to try and get fishmongers trained, qualified and recognised.

I hopefully highlighted the benefits of having trained fishmongers and the reasons why fishmongers should be trained. So, this blog is:


Fishmongering is a skilled trade and a trade which goes back generations and 100’s of years. It is a fulfilling, satisfying and a lot of the time, challenging career. For instance during Christmas and Easter it is particularly challenging and I can take in at least double the amount of sales in one week with Whole Salmon and at the end of the shift which has sometimes been 14 hours long, it’s exhausting. But, extremely satisfying. How many people can say that about their career?

It is also a skill which is worked on constantly. My colleague, Alex who started my fishmonger training, worked on trawlers up in his native Scotland and subsequently a fishmonger and when I see him fillet fish it’s an art form. He constantly reminds me that when I’m his age (saying nothing!) I will be there at that level.

The first competition I entered in 2015, I didn’t complete the Flatfish Challenge in the alloted time, this year I completed it in less time than last year. So constantly learning.

I have heard independent fishmongers say that they aren’t concerned whether fishmongers are recognised, as long as a fishmonger can do the work then that is needed, and I see that point. I also see the point that fishmongering is not a job which appeals to many people. As I’ve mentioned before in previous blogs, before I began training I didn’t even eat fish, let alone wanting to learn more. But, that sense of achievement is something that, for me personally, kept me focused and incentive to push myself.

Also, it would be evidence of consistent training. Whether retail or independent the only difference would be the premises, fish on display and price. The service would be the same. Fishmongers find their own little ways of filleting as they progress.

For example, when I fillet or 1/4 fillet flat fish, I leave the head and fins on the skeletal frame, some fishmongers take off the head and trim the fins. It should achieve the same goal, maximum yield.


A stumbling block for recognition for anything will usually come down to money.  The recognition means training, which means assessment plans, competent trainers, a ruling body, final assessors, facilities to train in and most importantly, fish to train on, and that all costs money and time. But, personally, it is a noble trade which should be a recognised with a qualification and have a pride in a trade which takes skill and determination on a daily basis.

Again, for more information please go to The National Federation Of Fishmongers website and also The Seafish Industry website.

The photo I’ve included for this blog is the photo from this year’s British Fish Craft Championships with my colleagues I refer to. Gavin Kempsell, Manda Wheeldon, Nicola Rowbotham, Lynda Helen Smith, Jeanette Goldsworthy and Dina-marie Lewis with the very beautiful Miss Grimsby. I don’t think I’ve done bad for a “I’ll never be a fishmonger”. Imagine what training and recognition can do for other prospective fishmongers…..



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