I recently heard that a local restaurant was boasting, 'Herefordshire
Haddock' on the menu. I absolutely kid you not!
can that be,' I wondered? 'Herefordshire is totally land
locked and miles from the nearest ocean!' I decided to try
and find out what was going on. Following weeks of investigative
journalism, I discovered that there is such a fish, and
that it truly is a rare delicacy, but that the fish's source
is a closely guarded secret.
out that Herefordshire Haddock can only be caught approximately
once every 175 years, when the River Wye floods in July.
The fish spawns by laying eggs in the grass in flood plain
areas surrounding the River Wye. When the river floods during
the winter months, the water is too cold and the eggs lay
dormant. Every 175 years or so though, the river floods
in July and the tepid waters allow the fish to hatch.
the baby haddock is lucky, it manages to swim straight for
the main river, where it can grow to as much as 25 inches
in length and weigh up to 14lbs before swimming to the ocean.
However, the young fish are considered a delicacy in Japan
- in the same way that elvers are on the River Severn. Enterprising
local fishermen go out and, using hi-tech, extremely powerful
pumps with a special filtering attachment, they literally
suck the fish from the flood plains before they have a chance
to swim for the safety of the river.
went along with a group of local fishermen, to a secret
location during the week and was allowed to film them in
action. They did not mind, as long as I did not identify
any of the individuals involved. The group of four men amassed
a massive haul of Haddock on the day, which, in this case,
they took to a local 'Haddock Station', selling their catch
for as much as £2000 per kilo, for shipment to the
will pay for my once in a lifetime holiday in Weston-Super-Mare',
said one of the fishermen, as he counted the wad, handed
to him later in the evening at the Haddock Station. 'We
usually just go to Florida or Bali but this year, we can
afford Weston. The kids are already getting excited at the
thought of candy floss on the pier'.