Q&A with seafood brand Young's

Young'sAccording to research, less than a quarter of Brits eat the government's recommended two portions of fish a week. In April 2012 we invited three experts from leading seafood brand Young's to answer your questions as part of its Twice-A-Week campaign.

The panel of experts was made up of Young's development chef: Serge Nollent, nutritionist: Dr Carrie Ruxton and Head of Sustainability: Mike Mitchell. They tackled queries on sustainability, nutrition and suggested a range of tasty fish recipes.

Sustainability | Nutritional value | Recipes | Miscellaneous


Q. worldgonecrazy: What active steps are Young's taking to ensure the sustainability of their produce? How can we ensure laws are obeyed by people when they're hundreds of miles out at sea with little risk of getting caught? What steps are Young's taking to get British people out of the cod/salmon/tuna habit and eating other varieties of fish?

A. Mike Mitchell: At Young's we take our responsibilities towards sustainability and ocean conservation very seriously indeed and have a very clearly defined approach through our Fish for Life program, which is underpinned by our Ten Principles for Responsible Seafood Procurement. This program has now won a number of prestigious national and international awards for good environmental practice and is industry leading in our sector on a global scale. Through our support of third party sustainability schemes such as the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) we ensure that we bring a wide variety of fully traceable, legally caught and sustainable fish species to our range.
Young's Logo

There are various means of ensuring that fishing vessels comply with the law, even when they are miles out at sea and these vary in accordance with where you are in the world. In some nations such as the USA and Russia, the government places enforcement officers on board fishing vessels as 'observers' while in others there is a greater reliance on technical measures such as GPS plotting and CCTV surveillance. Coast guards patrol many of the world's fishing grounds, with powers to board and inspect catches and fishing gear. These are often supported by airborne surveillance from spotter planes or helicopters that are constantly trying to identify potential illegal fishing activity. Shore based inspections at port also help to ensure that vessel records are correct and up-to-date and that fishing gear and catches are legally compliant.

It is true that the UK market over indexes on a small number of species and that in other markets not too far from here a wider variety of seafood species is regularly eaten. British people are therefore missing out on some marvellous culinary opportunities. We do our bit by encouraging people to try a wider variety of fish species and by launching new products using different fish. The oily species such as herring and mackerel have particularly good health benefits and we introduced highly sustainable Alaska pollock to our range a number of years ago and this has subsequently proven to be a popular fish.

Q. TwoIfBySea: How can we be sure that the fish we purchase is not only sustainable but also supports UK fishermen? By this I mean not simply catching the fish with UK boats but also processing and packaging within the UK.

Jamie Oliver 300x200

A. Mike Mitchell: Young's buy significant quantities of UK caught fish, especially mackerel, haddock, coley, herring and nephrops (scampi), which we mostly process in our own factories in Scotland and England. Supporting the UK fishing industry is important to us and we also source amazing fish from around the world. We ensure that wherever our fish is caught, or farmed, that it meets our exacting standards for quality and responsible sourcing, set out in our Fish for Life programme. 

Q. QuintessentialShadows: I've heard about a situation in Norwegian waters whereby fishermen catch cod with a trawl, but then dump tons of coal-fish that is also caught in the nets, (which is much coveted by the Norwegians themselves and a staple of their weekly diet), on English territory, because England is more lax about this? Is Young's involved in this practice? What does the brand have to say about this?

A. Mike Mitchell: Young's has campaigned for many years on the outrageously wasteful practice of discarding fish. The discarding of species such as coal-fish (or coley) in Norwegian waters is illegal whether carried out by Norwegian or UK registered vessels. Meanwhile, the discarding of certain fish in EU waters (eg: undersized or above the vessel's quota) is a legal obligation. When EU vessels have been fishing under licence in Norwegian waters where they are not permitted to discard, they are obliged by law to discard some of their catch when they return to EU waters prior to landing. This is an anomaly of the EU Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) and Young's has campaigned for a number of years on the wasteful practice of discarding fish. We are not fishermen but we do buy from UK vessels that are forced by law to discard fish and we have been working through a number of channels such as the UK Industry Discard Action Group to try to find practical solutions to this problem. We have also campaigned strongly within the UK and at Brussels for major changes to the CFP to result in the elimination of discarding fish in EU waters. 

Q. Evilwater: What do Young's think about fish discards, what is the company doing to stop this waste and support UK fishing? 

"The wasteful practice of discarding fish is something that Young's has taken a stand on, and campaigned against, for many years."

A. Mike Mitchell: The wasteful practice of discarding fish is something that Young's has taken a stand on, and campaigned against, for many years. We have been major players in a number of key initiatives such as the UK Industry Discard Action Group in which we seek to understand the diverse factors that cause discarding and to seek to find practical solutions. At the heart of the problem though is the EU Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), which creates a legal obligation for fishermen to discard parts of their catch even though the fish are already dead. We have been working hard to campaign with the government in the UK and in Brussels to bring about an end to this situation once and for all.

Q. instantfamily: Why does it always have to be cod? Why is there so little choice in terms of fish for sale in British supermarkets? Why can we not buy many of the bycatch fish?

A. Mike Mitchell: There is nothing wrong with eating cod that has been responsibly sourced if you enjoy it. Atlantic cod stocks are in a period of superabundance and although some small fisheries remain depleted at a local scale, there is more cod in northern waters than at any time since the end of the Second World War. However, as a nation we do tend to over-index on cod and are therefore quite simply missing out on a number of delicious fish species. At Young's we encourage people to try alternative species, we call this our 'diversification initiative'. From coley to pollock and from whiting to mackerel, there are so many great fish to try. We were pioneers introducing the highly sustainable Alaska pollock to our range a number of years ago, as well as using responsibly farmed basa in some of our products.

Nutritional Value

Q. MyChildDoesntNeedSleep: Is one portion of oily fish a week enough to meet one's Omega-3 requirements, or is that just a minimum to aim for?

A. Carrie Ruxton: The weekly recommendation for Omega-3s is just over three grams so you need at least two portions of fish a week (one of which should be oily) to give you enough of the Omega-3s. As a guide, a 140g portion of oily fish, such as salmon, mackerel, herring, fresh tuna or sardines, would give you 1.5g to 2.8g of Omega-3s. White fish or prawns give you 0.1g to 0.7g per portion, while crab gives you 1.2g Omega-3s. There are no separate recommendations for kids but I would still offer them their two portions of fish a week and just make the portions appropriate for their age. 

Q. gazza lw: What would you recommend as the definitive best value/best nutritional value fish to buy from the supermarkets? 

A. Carrie Ruxton: If you like oily fish, herring is great and is reasonably priced. It is high in vitamin D (which we're all lacking after the winter months) and lower in fat and saturated fat than other species. It also contains a lot of Omega-3s. Other good options are Atlantic salmon, which is nutritionally sound and has a better flavour than farmed salmon so you don't need as much. For white fish, pollock is a great choice as it's more sustainable but contains similar levels of nutrients to cod and haddock.

Q. TheRhubarb: I like salmon but I don't like what I've read about farmed salmon and the toxins it contains. Is this true? Organic salmon is seriously expensive. And how come tinned tuna has no Omega-3 in it? I know I could get fresh tuna but again, it's so expensive!

"While we may read the odd bad thing about farmed fish, I believe the produce is safe and we get more toxins walking down a busy high street."

A. Carrie Ruxton: Farmed fish and shellfish, like other foods in the UK, are strictly controlled by the Food Standards Agency, I know because I sit on a committee in Scotland and we are always discussing it! While we may read the odd bad thing about farmed fish, I believe the produce is safe and we get more toxins walking down a busy high street. Yes, it would be great to eat organic and wild tuna all the time but you are right that these products are more expensive. The Food Standards Agency says that organic foods are no better nutritionally than intensively farmed alternatives. At the end of the day, all types of fish are nutritious but we make our choices about which we prefer and can afford.

Regarding tinned tuna, it is lower in Omega-3s than fresh tuna because of the canning process which squeezes out all the oil. But canned tuna still contains 0.7g of Omega-3s (one fifth of your weekly recommendation) so it's still worth having. Fresh tuna contains twice as much Omega-3s.

Q. Ragwort: Does smoked mackerel and smoked salmon count as 'oily' fish? I read somewhere that only fresh mackerel is considered 'oily'.

A. Carrie Ruxton: Yes, they still count as 'oily' and contain Omega-3s. Smoked fish can be higher in salt than fresh fish but they are still nutritious. 


Q. blue2: I would love a recipe for fresh mackerel but apart from smoked mackerel I cannot find a recipe that everyone likes. Any ideas?

A. Serge Nollent: Baked Mackerel with Tomatoes & Fennel

Serves four


• 2 large whole mackerel, filleted
• 4 ripe tomatoes, de-seeded and diced 
• 1 large onion, chopped
• 2 garlic cloves, sliced
• 1/2 fennel, sliced
• 4 sprigs of rosemary
• 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
• 2 tbsp olive oil
• Seasoning (to taste)


1. Pre-heat oven to 170C/gas mark three.
2. Mix together all ingredients with 1/2 of the olive oil.
3. Layer the tomato mixture in a roasting tray.
4. Season mackerel fillets, place on top of tomato mix skin side up.
5. Drizzle over remaining olive oil, cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes. 
6. Remove foil and bake for a further five mins.
7. Serve hot from oven.

Q. LadySybilDeChocolate: My 12 year old son will eat smoked but not steamed salmon. He'll eat fresh but not canned tuna. He also likes prawns. Can you suggest any new recipes based on these ingredients? 

A. Serge Nollent: Smoked Salmon Crepe Recipe:

1. Make a traditional pancake six-seven inch diameter
2. Place two slices of smoked salmon on top and pour seasoned hot cream around the edge of the smoked salmon
3. Heat under a hot grill for around two mins and serve with a squeeze of lemon on top

Prawn Salad with Raw Apple and Rhubarb

Serves four


• 2 British apples, thinly sliced and tossed in a little lemon juice 
• 2 sticks of green rhubarb, thinly sliced
• 1 onion, chopped)
• 2 handfuls watercress
• 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
• 1tsp cider vinegar
• 400g cooked shelled prawns
• Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper (to taste)


1. Mix apples, rhubarb, and spring onions with oil, vinegar and then season.
2. Then add watercress mix carefully.
3. Divide between plates, and then scatter prawns on each plate.
4. Serve with a toasted sliced baguette.

Fresh Tuna Steak with Soy, Lime & Ginger

Serves four


• 4 fresh tuna steaks
• 2 limes, squeezed
• 4 tbsp soy sauce
• 1 tbsp ginger, grated
• 1 tbsp mirin
• 1 tsp chopped red chilli
• 1 tbsp olive oil
• 1 tbsp coriander, chopped


1. Pan fry tuna steak in olive oil, one to two mins on each side (for a rare eat) .
2. Remove from pan and keep warm and add rest of oil to the pan.
3. Add ginger, mirin, soy, chilli and bring to boil.
4. Add lime juice and coriander and check seasoning.
5. Put steak back in pan for a few seconds.
6. Serve on plate with stir fry pack choi and ramen noodles.

Q. SundaeGirl: Can you suggest fish recipes that I can batch cook (apart from fish pie)? My cooking mainstays are soups and stews and I never really put fish in either of them.

A. Serge Nollent: Seafood Gratin

Serves four 


• 700g skin of white fish & salmon, dicedSalmon and chilli 250x166
• 1/2 lemon, squeezed
• 25g flour
• 30g butter
• 2 egg yolks
• 300ml milk
• 100ml cream
• 100g cooked prawns, peeled
• 50g Parmesan
• Salt and freshly ground pepper (to taste)


1. Melt butter in saucepan and stir flour.
2. Stir for a couple of minutes on low heat. 
3. Draw off the heat and gradually mix in the milk little at a time followed by the cream. 
4. Bring to the boil and simmer for five mins until thick.
5. Add egg yolk, stir well, and add prawns, lemon juice before seasoning. 
6. Place fish in a buttered gratin dish, pour sauce over and sprinkle with parmesan. 
7. Bake in oven for 25 to 30 mins at 180C/gas mark four.
(This recipe can also make seafood lasagne by adding pasta sheets in layers)

"For a healthy low fat diet, the best way to cook fish is to steam, grill or bake it with a dash of olive oil."

Q. karen3w: I'm trying to follow a low fat healthy diet but find it very difficult to include fish as we seem to only like it in batter, otherwise it seems very bland. Can you suggest any low fat fish recipes that have lots of flavour? 

A. Serge Nollent: For a healthy low fat diet, the best way to cook fish is to steam, grill or bake it with a dash of olive oil.

Roasted Cod with Olives and Lemon 

Serves four 


• 2 small lemons, thinly sliced
• 4 sprigs fresh thyme
• 16 pimento stuffed green olives
• 14 small red potatoes, peeled
• 4 (1 1/2 pounds) cod fillets
• 2 tbsp olive oil
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper (to taste)


1. Pre-heat oven to 200C/gas mark six.
2. Place lemon slices in a single layer on baking/roasting tray.
3. Lay thyme sprigs over lemons and sprinkle with olives.
4. Halve each potato and cook them in salted water.
5. Scatter the potatoes in a baking tray.
6. Place fillets on lemon and drizzle olive oil over fish and potatoes. 
7. Season with salt and pepper.
8. Transfer to oven and roast until fish is cooked through, about 20 to 25 minutes.
9. Serve fish with potatoes and olives. 

Q. Northey: I hate fish but I'd like to try to eat it. Is there (a) a fish which has lots of bang for the buck nutrient wise, that I can get away with eating very small amounts (b) a way of cooking some particularly bland tasting beginners' fish so that I don't notice I'm eating fish at all and can eat lots of it?

A. Serge Nollent: Mackerel and salmon contain Omega-3, which would be perfect. For a recipe, I suggest salmon/mackerel fish cakes: 

• 500g small, fresh salmon, diced
• 200g potato, mashed
• 1 tbsp fresh herbs such as dill or parsley
• Pinch of cayenne
• 1 red onions, finely chopped
• 1 clove garlic, crushed
• 1 tsp chopped capers
• 1 tsp English Mustard
• Season (to taste)


1. Mix all the ingredients together and cook in olive oil until they are soft.
2. Shape each 140g fish cake, toss each cake in flour and pan fry gently in olive oil on both sides until golden.
3. Finish cooking in oven at 190C/gas mark five.


Q. supernannyisace: Herrings always look to be good value, and are oily fish, but I haven't yet cooked one. Would you do it the same as a whole mackerel, that is; grill/BBQ? Or are there any other methods which would be good for a mid-week dinner? 

A. Serge Nollent: Herring can be cooked like mackerel, grill, BBQ, baked, pan fry, tossed in flour, seasoned and pan-fried gently in olive oil and then served with a stewed rhubarb and gooseberry relish.

Q. DairyNips: I'd like to eat more oily fish but don't like fish that has too strong a flavour. The other thing that puts me off eating fish are the bones. What type of fish would you suggest I buy if I want oily, boneless fish?

A. Serge Nollent: The following fish are oily and can be deboned (ask your fishmonger to do it for you, or buy supermarket sales portions): boneless salmon, fresh tuna, trout, whitebait (can be deep-fried and eaten whole), fresh mackerel, red mullet or grey mullet.

Last updated: 7 months ago