Posted 13th Oct 2015
It's Seafood Week (9th to 16th October 2015) and we spoke to Jimmy Buchan of Skippers Choice to find out how you could be incorporating more fresh fish into your routine with his online fish box service
What drew you to the delights of the oceans?
I grew up on the seashore close to the port of Peterhead. I spent my childhood experiencing the excitement of catching fish off the end of the pier in our local village. Watching the local lobster fishermen coming in with their catches always enchanted me and set my mind on track to follow my passion. My passion was to carve a career in fishing. To this day, when I heave up the gear from the cold icy waters of the North Sea, it is the thrill of the unknown that still gets the adrenaline pumping. There is no better feeling when you challenge your wit against the elements and you get a good catch.
You're passionate about quality fish, why did you decide that the ‘fish box’ would be the right approach to provide quality fish to customers?
Sometimes people are not adventurous or bold in making choices, so I decided I make that choice for them. That apart, and my experience and knowledge, means that I know what is in season and can choose the very best of what is on offer that day and also make sure that I offer value for money too. We offer five different fish boxes with the 6th option being our ‘build your own’ fish box, where our customers can choose the quantity and type of fish they want to buy. I am also happy to talk to customers any time about their requirements and any special occasion where they may want something that bit different.
Did you have any doubts before you started?
I never doubted the concept. For years I have met and spoken to people who said they love fish but struggle to find really fresh fish close to where they live. I knew I could take the freshest wild caught Scottish fish directly to their homes, so the idea was born - I know everything there is to know about fish and really understand the industry, which puts me in a great position to deliver the best quality and to make this business a success.
How has your business grown since inception?
Each week we are gathering more and more new and returning customers. What I love most is the fantastic feedback and comments we receive from them. Word of mouth and our easy to use Skipper’s Choice shop are helping us grow. When I am asked about what we supply and why buy from Skipper’s Choice online, I always say, come and try our fish and 'taste the difference'.
What experience do you have?
I have over 40 years of experience fishing at sea and in that period I have learned so much about the whole fishing cycle from owning a fishing boat, The Amity 11, catching the fish, landing it at Peterhead (Europe’s biggest white fish port), selling the fish at the market and the processing of it. For some time I have been selling and promoting seafood locally to hotels and restaurants. The enthusiasm and loyalty of my customers gave me the courage to start my new online fish box venture.
You starred in a BAFTA award-winning series, what was that about and why did you decide to do it?
When invited to take part in the BBC Trawlermen series no one knew how successful it would be, however I am always keen to have the opportunity to take my industry into the homes of millions of viewers at prime time TV. Fishing was a pretty unknown industry – fishing vessels left the port and then returned with fish. Trawlermen had a wide audience, both young and old, with people generally engaging in the drama of day to day fishing. I've always been an opportunist and being given the chance to play my part in the series certainly gave me a that great opportunity and platform to promote what life fishing at sea is like.
What makes salmon different to other fish you supply?
All the fish we source and supply is wild caught by fishermen from Scottish waters, however the salmon we supply is supplied from sustainable salmon farms on the west coast of Scotland. Wild caught salmon is not readily available and therefore sourcing farmed fish in this instance allows me to supply my customers with quality fish which complements our range.
Where do you see the business going?
I want the Skipper’s Choice brand to become a household name, known for supplying the freshest Scottish fish online – whether a fish box or a selection of your choice. I would like to be the ‘supplier of choice’ and be known for selling the tastiest freshest Scottish fish.
Our customers are our future, everything we have done is to try and give the customer a great shopping experience.
To find out more about Skippers Choice visit the website, here.
Four the chance to win one of four fish boxes delivered to your door visit our competitions page.