Belfast Telegraph

Children explore the world of seafood with Belfast's Fish City

A Belfast restaurant is casting its net to get school children hooked on fish.

Fish City is reeling in a new generation of fish lovers with Northern Ireland's first ‘Kids' Club’ in the industry.

The Ann Street restaurant and takeaway will educate kids about the health benefits of eating seafood.

By teaching primary school pupils about the health benefits of fish and the importance of protecting our oceans and actively supporting seafood sustainability, they will begin to eat more fish.

Children are taken to the nearby St George's Market to see the raw seafood and different species and different sizes of fish that's been brought to shore that day.

They then return to the restaurant to watch a film about sustainability and the importance of protecting our oceans for future generations to come.

Restaurant owners, John and Grainne Lavery, who opened the Belfast business in the summer of 2016, hope that the young visitors literally take the bait - and are won over by the long term nutritional benefits of fish.

They also believe it is important that adults themselves make informed decisions on what they eat, not least because of rising concerns over obesity and the general importance of making better food choices for their family.

"Research, and first-hand experience shows, children are not eating enough fish”, explains John, who begins his day each morning at 6am creating their artisan fish batter from scratch.

Grainne added: "We educate the children on all that we do, encouraging them to try the different species of sustainable seafood, and of course to have some fun while doing so.

"We tell them all about the species of fish we cook and provide in restaurant and ask them questions to get them engaged and understand the health and nutritional benefits of eating more seafood."       

Teacher and vice principal, Rhonda Glasgow, took her P7 pupils from Spa Primary School, Ballynahinch, to Fish City earlier this year as part of a food and fishing project she was working on.

"We met Grainne at St George's Market and the children were able to handle the fish and hear from the fishmongers where they had been caught and how to cook them." said Rhonda.

"Back at the restaurant classroom Grainne taught them all about sustainable fishing and had more examples of species of fish for them to explore. The children were so excited that the fish had been caught locally, in Ardglass. They soaked it all up and really loved the trip."

Shortlisted as a finalist for the ‘Good Catch – The Sustainable Seafood Award’ - one of 15 categories in the 2018 National Fish & Chip Awards – Fish City will compete against two other shops, Penaluna’s Famous Fish & Chips, Hirwaun, Rhondda Cynon Taf and Harbourside Fish & Chips, Barbican, Plymouth for the top title.

To reach this stage of the competition, the three businesses were assessed against a wide variety of judging criteria, focusing strongly on the policies and procedures they have in place regarding the responsible sourcing of fish and shellfish.

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