Adrian Bartlett is the founder of the Crabstock Shellfish Festival. Adrian started fishing in 1987. He started as a deckhand then worked his way up to skipper on crabbing boats or potters based in Kingswear, South Devon. Adrian has fished for edible brown crabs and native lobster all around the UK coast, but mainly built his crabbing career in the English Channel in the tidal waters North of Alderney (Channel Islands) on various boats and for various owners.
After working in the industry for 25 years and being passionate about the UK Seafish Industry, an opportunity arose where Adrian could share his knowledge and passion with the UK public and chefs to show how good UK Shellfish is to eat and how easy it is to pick a crab without fear. Crabstock Shellfish Festival was born!
Adrian says: “Crabstock is a lot of fun for all the family, but it’s also about teaching people about the health benefits of eating Great British Shellfish as well as the social and economic importance of supporting the country’s fishing industry. I fully believe that our shellfish is the best in the world and that we should do all that we can to keep all our wonderful, nutritious, sustainable shellfish on the menu.
What does Adrian put the success of Crabstock down to?
“Being inland we have a unique opportunity to show a new audience what’s being caught all around UK coasts. To our knowledge we are the Only Inland Seafood Festival showcasing all aspects of Shellfish and fish caught all around UK waters. We also work hard with the children by getting them to try shellfish for the very first time. The festival also works to get rid of all the silly myths about eating shellfish i.e. the dead man’s fingers. Plus it’s loads of fun for all the family through different activities.”
2015 is looking very prosperous for Adrian and the Crabstock team with three festivals being planned. Off the back of Crabstock Adrian gets invited to be involved with other seafood festival around the UK by showing how to pick a crab with a tea spoon and a rolling pin.
What does Adrian think the key health benefits of eating shellfish are?
“It’s now widely accepted that oily fish, which is high in long-chain Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids is good for you. It’s not just found in Herring and Mackerel, Crab, Oysters, and Hake – Brown Shrimps are also a good source. Seafood is an excellent source of protein and provides a wide range of vitamins and minerals. A good source to find out more about the benefits of eating seafood is: www.seafood.org”
Why does Adrian feel it’s important that the UK fishing industry is supported and promoted?
“We have such a brilliant array of fantastic shellfish and fish being caught daily, but with the majority being exported all over the world (which is good, but the UK public are missing out) we need to try to keep some back. This can only be achieved by educating the public on various ways to try fish and by encouraging them to see the health benefits of eating seafood, plus its very tasty which helps.”
What single thing would Adrian change for the fishing industry if he was Prime Minister?
“This is difficult to answer. It’s difficult to stay none political being in the fishing industry. It would be great if Crabstock had the chance to put seafood education into schools.
The Crabstock team has gone into primary schools with kids from the age of five to eleven throughout the UK in the past four years with live crabs and lobsters and videos of the industry. These kids have never seen, let alone held live shellfish. Their eyes light up and the enthusiasm they show is amazing. Then, when we get them to taste the seafood it’s even better. We think by showing the young what we have, they should start to eat seafood without fears and this will support the industry in future years.”
What is Adrian’s favourite seafood recipe?
“Simple ‘Crab’, a nice fresh handpicked sandwich on wholemeal bread, brown meat acting as butter then the sweetest white meat as filling. But I do love all fresh shellfish and fish”
Can Adrian tell us a fact about crab that we may not already know ?
“Dead man’s fingers are NOT poisonous. It’s a FACT. They just don’t taste good. What they are is the gills that keep the crab alive, and this is the same for all crabs and lobsters. This is the biggest thing Crabstock deals with at our festivals.
Crabstock is in the unique position of being inland and targeting a totally new audience with fantastic UK caught seafood.
Adrian Bartlett is one of the UK’s leading Crustacean Experts. You can find him all around the UK at food festivals and cookery schools, giving Crab Picking demonstrations and talks.
Crabstock is pleased to announce the 2015 Crabstock Shellfish Festival will be back on the 25th & 26th July 2015 at: The Obelisk Centre, Kingsthorpe, Northampton www.crabstockfestivals.co.uk