A wild River Lune salmon, proudly held aloft by Jamie of Shaw's fishmongers in Lancaster Market.
Jamie explained that this wild salmon had been caught under licence near Sunderland Point on the mouth of the River Lune. You'll notice the tag: As soon as the salmon is caught, it must be tagged and recorded by the licensed fisherman, and then again on arrival at the fishmongers. Strict controls are in place by the Environment Agency, and records of all salmon caught and sold must be matched against quotas imposed by them.
There are a limited number of licences available and Jamie confirmed there is no guarantee of a regular catch, mainly because the salmon must be caught using traditional funnel nets. Jamie, Fred and a knowledgeable customer also pointed out that these licensees catch the salmon more for love than money - they know of fishermen who have lost money over the course of the season.
Jamie took this salmon from the refridgerated storage, where it was waiting to be 'worked on' by Jamie, Fred and Kev tomorrow or Saturday morning. Because it is caught locally and brought straight to the mongers, the salmon must be left to rest for at least 24 hours until the rigor mortis has eased. Until this time, it is still too stiff to do anything with.
It was a pleasure talking with Jamie and Fred, and I hope I have done justice to the knowledge they were happy to share with me. Unfortunately we will be away over the weekend so won't have a chance to try this particular salmon, but will make a point of getting a few steaks from the next catch. Thanks guys.