The plan of traditional fishmongers to save a sector without unemployment, but that does not attract young workers (or customers)

Spain is, perhaps with permission from Japan, the country with the best fishmongers in the world and in which more available species can be found: up to 1000 different varieties. But the habit that our mothers and grandmothers had of going at least one day a week to the fish market is being lost among young people, who often do not even know what to ask for in them.

"Since they have not gone small, they don't have it in their cultural referent, in their memories of when they were children, and we have to attract them so they know that not only could I buy in a supermarket, but also, there are stores where they can live experiences around fish that are wonderful, ”he explains to Direct to the Palate Mª Luisa Álvarez Blanco, Managing Director of the National Federation of Provincial Associations of Retailers of Frozen Fish and Products (Fedepesca).

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“As the country grows in well-being, there are certain trades that are considered to be demanding, and they are being abandoned,” Álvarez explains.

To this lack of generational relief among the clients of the fishmongers there is also another problem that could be even more serious: lack of replacement among the fishmongers themselves. “When a fishmonger closes his business you don't find people who can continue it,” explains Álvarez. “It is increasingly difficult for us to find workers for the sector and entrepreneurs. We have lost approximately 22% of the premises and jobs since 2007 ”.

The problem is similar to that suffered by other sectors of food. "As the country grows in well-being, there are certain trades that are considered to be demanding, and they are leaving, ”explains the director of Fedepesca. “It is a sector without unemployment, but it is very difficult for us to find people. That is why we also want to do a prestigious job of the professional ”.

Y How to get young people closer to fishmongers? Through the gastronomy.

María Luisa Álvares, director of Fedepesca, after her presentation at the Gourmets Hall.

Beyond the anchovies in vinegar

Fedepesca wants traditional fishmongers to start doing what many years ago they started doing butcher shops: offer prepared products in their stores, which facilitate the consumption of fish.

This has been for years. Lorenzo Heads, owner of the fish shop El Cantil, in Madrid, where it offers numerous ready-to-eat prepared products such as salpicón, ceviche, tuna tartare and even sushi on demand that it prepares at the moment. Also organizes courses and tastings, to bring the consumer closer to the world of fish.

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Cabezas is one of the fishmongers that he will practice as a teacher of various courses that Fedepesca will offer to associates who seek to give a new shine to their business, under the program Gastronomic Fish Market, which was presented yesterday at the Gourmets Hall. A brightness that is undoubtedly necessary, if you want to compete in an increasingly complex environment.

“We do not want to be bars, because our agreement does not allow it, and neither does the tax regime, but the hotel industry is selling dishes prepared to consume at home and It's making us a lot of competition, because it takes away household consumption, which is what we traditionally did, ”explains Álvarez.

Cabezas prepared his popular spatter that, he says, sells very well in his fish shop on weekends.

We are already used to seeing meatballs, hamburgers or breaded butchers, processed products easy to cook (and in which professionals get a greater profit margin). But it is a niche that in fishmongers is limited at most to the anchovy in vinegar and that, until now, did not even have legislation ad hoc.

“I have seen them and I have wanted them in a city like Madrid to get the tastings at the point of sale,” acknowledges Álvarez. “We are very cramped. The fishmonger can only sell fresh or frozen fish, he could not make elaborations. We had to do a very important job with the regulations. Because Europe allows it, hygiene regulations too, but the trade law was also very strict. ”

In parallel to the Gastronomic Fishmongers project, as of June, Fedepesca wants to promote the tasting of fish products in the fishmongers themselves, by means of those baptized as Pescatas. All with the objective of modernizing a sector that needs to be renewed.

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