Saturday, November 17, 2007

Tie the pollock line to the rowlock!


Rowlocks (pronounced "rollocks")

Sales of the humble pollock are up 44% this year, the Times reports. It's being bought as an alternative to cod. It tastes like cod and, hopefully, these increased sales of pollock will ease the problems with overfishing of cod.

Dave Audley, president of the National Federation of Fish Friers said to the Times:

The name of the fish raises a laugh and keeps everyone cheered up

Indeed. Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall is helping the upward trend of pollock by extolling its virtues on River Cottage: Gone Fishing on Channel 4. In fact, as I write, Thomasina Miers is telling everyone how to cook pollock stew on BBC1's Saturday Kitchen.

I'm delighted that the humble pollock is in the ascendency. As a child we often went sea fishing from Polruan, Cornwall (below). The main thing we caught was mackerel. If you hit a shoal, you could have the mackerel coming up two to a hook or four to a line. They were very common. But the other thing we caught was pollock - but less commonly. On a typical trip we would catch, say, ten mackerel and two pollock.

If you wanted to catch pollock you had to put your line deeper than for mackerel. The mackerel tend to swim higher up and are a more lively fish. When you bring them into the boat they are clattering around for hours. As a result the fish itself is high in taste because, presumably, of the very active muscles/flesh.

Pollock are less lively and, as result perhaps, have a dullerish taste which is more akin to cod.

So the title of this post is explained: it's a maritime command which I doubt is ever uttered, but it is good fun imagining it.

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