In former centuries the salted fish were laid out to dry on pebble beaches, with boys standing by to rush the drying fish inside if it started to rain. Our artisan product is rooted in that ancient tradition. When I was growing up, salt fish and mutton was part of life. My father and I would go fishing in his traditional 17-foot wooden boat. We worked handlines and set lines for pollock, skate, mackerel, haddock and cod. Our catch was salted, with some set aside fresh for supper. When I left school and worked on the island ferries, salt fish was the staple diet – the art of curing and salting was essential knowledge for all crewmen. Over six hundred years ago, Hanseatic merchants from Germany were coming to Shetland to buy the finest salt cod in Europe. This ‘stockfish’ became the staple trade of the islands, finding customers as far away as Portugal and the Baltic. But for hundreds of years before the Hansa ships discovered salt Shetland cod, the islanders had been curing cod and other fish to feed themselves during the long, wild winters.
These are the traditions on which we founded our family business, based in the village of Cunningsburgh, Shetland. This long experience and detailed knowledge enables us to bring you what we believe to be the finest salt cured cod you’ll find anywhere.
All our fish is landed by local boat at the Lerwick or Scalloway fish markets in the early hours of the morning. It’s filleted by lunchtime and salted by tea-time. The fish slowly absorb the salt and give up their moisture.
We check the fish regularly and once we’re happy that they’ve taken up enough salt we start the drying process. The whole process takes at least up to two-months.
Our fish are available as skinned fillers in 50g and 250g packs.
Bespoke, trade and food service orders are always welcome, regardless of size, but we will need at least two-months to prepare your fish if dry and one-month if wet.
Fish processing facility approval mark number SA 076 UK.
The fishermen who catch our fish, like their ancestors, have come together as fathers, sons, neighbours and friends to form crews that own and operate their own vessels. They endure the worst sea conditions and weather imaginable to bring ashore some of the best seafood in the world. We’re privileged to be able to use their fish.
Every Thule Ventus salt fish pack comes with a label that provides the names and MMSI number of the vessel that caught the fish in the pack. If you go to www.marinetraffic.com and enter the MMSI number in the search facility, you will find that boat. Find out details of the boat and where she is fishing. We are proud of our fish, its traceability and quality.
Cod stocks on the Shetland fishing grounds have recovered and are now fished sustainably. This is in no small part due to two decades of sustained effort and sacrifice by Shetland and other fishing communities. The number of fishing boats and the days allowed at sea have drastically reduced. Those vessels remaining are using larger mesh nets to allow small fish to escape and grow. The result is that cod is now an abundant stock in Shetland’s pristine waters.
An independent assessment against the Marine Stewardship Council Standard for sustainable fisheries is underway to see if north Sea Cod can become an accredited fishery. For more information, visit the Marine Stewardship council website.
All our catchers have the latest fish handling and chilling systems. This, combined with on-board weighing means that not only can you be assured of the freshest fish, but we can tell you who caught it, where and when.
This information helps us to buy only the freshest fish on the market, through Shetland’s electronic fish auction. We pay a premium for the best fish, but we know it‘s worth it for the quality you’ll experience on the plate.