25 years ago, landing records showed that 5,000 tonnes of Atlantic Halibut were being landed and imported to the UK. Since this time, stocks have been decimated and the wild catch reduced to 500 tonnes per annum.
Recognising the demise of the wild stock, Alastair Barge created a small artisanal farm on Gigha, a tiny Hebridean island. Supported by public and private investment, it has impeccable standards in fish husbandry. It is small in scale, the tanks are roomy and the fish meal is organic, resulting in premium-grade, delicious fish.
“At Gigha, we have adopted a land-based aquaculture system recommended by the Marine Conservation Society. Water is pumped into land-based tanks which have no adverse effects on the surrounding marine environment”, says Alastair Barge.
Alastair says, “For the last 20 years, we have raised what I know to be ‘happy halibut’, where great care has been placed on the welfare of each individual fish. The fish are fed with a certified organic diet using 100% fish trimmings as a source of protein and organic vegetable products as a source of carbohydrate. This also means that no pressure is placed on the global fisheries used for sourcing fish meal.”
“We are blessed to live and work in one of the most beautiful parts of the world, making the most of the resources nature makes available to us. I am very proud that there are many customers of James Knight – both professionals and foodie enthusiasts – cooking our Gigha halibut”.
“My recipe suggestion would be like Nick Nairns’ wild harvest recipe – seared halibut served with a shallot and mushroom white cream sauce’, says Alistair.