Hook to plate

‘North Sea fish from Scheveningen deserves to be better known’

Getting people in The Hague region to find and love fish from Scheveningen. That’s the goal of Stichting Noordzeevis uit Scheveningen (the Foundation for North Sea fish from Scheveningen), an initiative of The Hague Rabobank. ‘In the light of the increasing popularity of local products, we expect there to be a large market for this fish,’

‘We eat plenty of tuna, salmon and tilapia in the Netherlands, according to Matthijs den Heijer, owner of Scheveningen-based wholesale fish and shrimp supplier W.G. den Heijer & Zn. ‘But we also catch a lot of flounder, dab, gurnard and whiting in season. They might not be as well-known in the Netherlands, but they taste great and they’re not very expensive. We currently export most of this fish to Asia, meaning that we eat Chinese fish over here, and Chinese people are eating our North Sea fish over there.’

Community

‘Fish from Scheveningen deserves to be better known in our region and the rest of the country’, believes Jaap Wielaart, chairman of the board of The Hague Rabobank. ‘So we started talking to local businesses and the municipality, which led to the creation of a community in 2015. Together we try to strengthen the entire fish supply chain: from the moment the fish is brought on land to the moment you find it on your plate.’

Recognisable

The Scheveningen community has already achieved a number of meaningful results. Developing a logo and a brand name, for instance: North Sea fish from Scheveningen. ‘This will make fish from Scheveningen recognisable in shops and restaurants. Wholesale giant Makro has now included fish with our brand and logo in its range’, Wielaart explains. ‘And more and more restaurants and beach pavilions will start putting North Sea fish on their menus. In the light of the increasing popularity of local products, we expect there to be a large market for this fish.’

Fish experience

The foundation has plenty of plans for the future. ‘We want to start telling the story behind the fish’, says The Hague City Council Member Karsten Klein. ‘Consumers are becoming increasingly interested in where their food comes from, and by telling our story in a future ‘fish experience’, to be built near the fish market, we can respond to that trend.’ Matthijs den Heijer is also an enthusiastic supporter of better education about fish. ‘Some children think that fish swim around the sea ready-battered, and that’s something we really have to change.’

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