Quality tips the scales for 'Oscar' winning Lancashire fish business
A Former Fleetwood trawlerman has won recognition for his fresh fish business which delivers across Lancashire.
Port-based Darren’s Fresh Fish has won one of the “Oscars” of the trade, and has been hailed in the top two of British Mobile Fish Shops.
Ancient Order, The Worshipful Company of Fishmongers, one of the oldest of the City Guilds of London founded more than 700 years ago, awarded him Runner Up in it’s prestigious Master Fishmonger Standard for 2020.
It’s Chief Examining Judge praised Darren’s Fleetwood based business for promoting “healthy, prosperous and sustainable” mobile fish and seafood retailing... and the fisheries which provide them.
52 year old Darren Wakefield is up well before the lark - at 4am every morning - to prowl the Fleetwood fish markets. And netting the very best share of the latest catch for clients.
He even offers a service to customers who text him the evening before.
He specialises in wild caught Seabass, Kate, Cod, Shrimps, Dover Sole and Plaice in his two vans, which can be seen every Wednesday at Highfield Road Post Office, Morrisons' car park in Bamber Bridge each Friday, the Hop Vine at Burscough every Tuesday and Thursday and by Verdes at the Green in Eccleston each Thursday.
Renowned Fleetwood shrimp fisherman, ‘Skip’ Frith sells directly to Darren, cooking the shrimps onboard in seawater for extra taste. He also supplies him with fine crabs and lobsters (live or cooked to order), plus with Plaice and Sole.
And Darren’s wife Sam joined the business in 2003 allowing it to double it’s weekly pitches. An accomplished fish and seafood cook, her recipes are on the firm’s website.
Darren believes that these deep roots into the traditions of fishing are a big ingredient in the establishing and maintaining the type of standards which has earned the business it’s award. And next year he vows to win it outright.
Darren said: “My father and grandfather were Icelandic fishermen on many Fleetwood trawlers, so I suppose it was inevitable I would end up working with fish.
“I went to sea straight from school and was helping to shoot the nets and haul almost straight away because I had learned the job on ‘pleasure’ trips out on the boats way before that. Sam brought a woman’s touch to the business and that is a big part of what we do.
“She is the daughter of ex Icelandic skipper John Whalley who was at sea for over 30 years, gaining her knowledge from her dad’s vast experience. We never stop striving and looking for ways to make the business go forward.”