Photo: channel 4
The week of fishy t.v. started off with national treasure, chef and writer Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's show.
In his charming and intelligent way he has spearheaded a campaign called "Fish Fight" in response to the "insane waste" caused by North Sea fishermen throwing back almost a million dead and dying fish every year.
Last night was Arthur Potts Dawson's turn. He is a special and unsung hero in the restaurant business. His eatery, Acornhouse, and his completely environmental and social-minded practices in the eco-food movement are his entree as he takes a trip on the rough seas in a commercial trawler.
Arthur Potts Dawson is a chef and he is passionate about the environment and sustainable food. He would not be a fan of trawler fishing which is big and commercial and out for the maximum gain.
However after 150 hours on a Cornish trawler in stormy seas and miserable weather, he has a new found respect for the captain and crew on the boats. These trawlermen risk their lives on a daily basis battling the natural forces and for his brief time with them he is terrified and full of respect for their work.
He is also nervous that he won't make the grade with them because he is the new, green (as in immature) guy and they are watching and waiting for him to fail.
The economics of fishing are tight: they have to make £20,000 on the fish catch before they even pay for the boat and the fuel. Then the owner gets a 60% cut and the crew each get a share of the remainder. In the end the cuttlefish save the day: they are much in demand in France, not in the UK and they manage to catch alot of them. The boat's catch adds up to £28,000 and they give Potts Dawson his half share: a grand total of £738 for some desperately hard work. As he says, it is a "tough life, a really tough life" and the pay adds up to less than the minimum wage.
The show was pretty simple, and Arthur came across as a really nice guy, not the brilliant socially-minded genius that this TreeHugger had expected. Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's show has a lot more style and sophistication and makes his case for the Fish Fight in a much stronger way.
He is campaigning to stop the waste of throwing fish back into the sea. He is also trying to urge people to eat a wider range of fish, and stop the pressure on stocks such as cod.
Photo: channel 4
Heston Blumenthal, chef extraordinaire is on tomorrow night. He will be making chocolate starfish and trout candy floss for afternoon tea. Yuck but unmissable.
A letter to the editor in today's Guardian sums up one reader's view on the many fish articles this week: ""For cod's sake" in your editorial (12 January)! I've haddock up to here with fish puns. I'm sorry to carp on, but surely there's a time and plaice for this sort of language."