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Seafood Scotland’s ‘Seafood in Schools’ project landed in Hawick last week, in the Scottish Borders, to teach first year pupils from Hawick High School, plus year six pupils from nine local primary schools about the Scottish industry.

Together with industry partners and teachers, Seafood Scotland delivered four workshop sessions, which aimed to give children and their teachers a better understanding of ‘where seafood comes from’, ‘how it gets to our plates’, and ‘why eating seafood is good for our health’.

Stephen Thomson of J K Thomson and Louise MacDonald from Hawick Sainsbury's demonstrated filleting techniques and spoke to the children about preparing seafood. Sandy Ritchie of the Anglo Scottish Fish Producers’ Organisation cooked langoustines for everyone to try and told pupils how fishermen live and work at sea. The children were amazed to find that langoustine tails are normally served in breadcrumbs as scampi!

A wonderful fresh seafood display, donated by fish wholesalers J K Thomson of Musselburgh, Welsh’s fishmonger in Edinburgh and the Scottish Salmon Company, allowed pupils to see and touch a wide range of fresh whole species, including cod, haddock and saithe, mackerel and herring, trout and salmon, crab and langoustine, oysters, mussels and scallops. A large monkfish, complete with huge jaw and sharp teeth and a 3ft long squid provided the ‘wow’ factor.

Catriona Frankitti, coordinator of the Seafood in Schools project, delivered a ‘come dine with me’ workshop, encouraging pupils to try a range of seafood donated by industry, including local smoked salmon and trout, mussels, smoked mackerel, herring, sprats and crab pate. Catriona also emphasized the health aspects of seafood consumption and the importance that Omega 3 plays in the diet.

Geography and Home Economics teachers provided the remaining workshop, looking at imports and exports, food miles, and the differences between fish from freshwater and salt water.

All pupils are following up the project by developing an advertising campaign to increase awareness of seafood and encourage greater consumption. The winning class will be announced early in December and will receive a prize from Sainsbury’s.

Scottish Salmon Producers’ Organisation, J K Thomson, British Trout Association, Seafish, Mallaig & Northwest Fishermen’s Association, International Fish Canners, Scottish Shellfish Marketing Group, Belhaven Smokehouse, Lunar, Orkney Herring Company, Burgon’s of Eyemouth and Sainsbury’s, all provided literature or seafood for the event.

“The workshops were a huge success; the pupils and teachers enjoyed the activities, many children ate seafood for the first time, and were enthusiastic about repeating the experience. We look forward to seeing the results of their follow up project, and to working with the schools in the future,” said Project Manager Nicki Holmyard.

“This event gave the pupils a unique opportunity to learn about seafood through interesting and exciting activities. It also allowed us to build what we hope will be long-standing links with the local community and with industry partners. Feedback from pupils and teachers was extremely positive and we are keen to see how inventive the children can be with their seafood advertising campaigns. Many thanks to everyone involved for all their hard work,” said Alison Hislop, Principal Teacher of Home Economics at Hawick High.

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