At The Fish Factory we are proud of our seafront in Worthing and Littlehampton. We are even more proud to still have full time fisherman, who are heroes to us. We work hard with our local small boat beach fisherman whom only use sustainable techniques to catch their fish.
In Worthing we still have beach fisherman landing their boats and we work closely with these boats to support them. No only do we help keep a valuable economy alive, we are more fortunate and honoured to serve fish staight from the beach within a few hundred yards from our restaurants. We have on many occasions been able to serve our customers with seafood delights that were still swimming around 2 hours before…now that is fresh!
We would like to thank all our local fisherman for all their hard work and ask all our customers to do the same. Take a wonder along the shores of Worthing and Littlehampton and buy your fresh fish from the boats. You will also gain knowledge about the seafront marine life and an insight to a disappearing culture.
At The Fish Factory we will be working with local schools to let children experience a local beach landing and a live unload from the nets, fascinating for any one of any age.
Local group we support and worth joining: If you would like to get involved or just gorge yourself on the sea delights you can contact our Fisherman Society Secretary Allan on 07770 776512 or join the local buying organisation, the fantastic Catchbox in Worthing. Visit their website to find out more of what they do at www.catchbox.coop/ or you can support the fisherman’s charity The Fisherman’s Mission as we do at The Fish Factory.
Worthing has a long maritime history predating its late 18th century emergence as a fashionable holiday and residential town. Fishing was a major economic activity for centuries, and still retains a presence on Worthing’s shingle shoreline.
The formerly sandy beach has changed over time, partly because of sea defence work carried out to alleviate concerns over flooding. Fishing was important to Worthing’s economy from the 16th century or earlier, when it was a modest village, until the early 20th century, but the numbers of boats and men employed were small.
Early fisherman supplemented their income by working the land for part of the year as well, and some inhabitants who farmed for most of the year also fished occasionally. Fishing tended to run in families for many generations. As well as being sold locally, fish was being exported to towns in Sussex and Surrey by the late 18th century. The main catches were mackerel and herring, supplemented by various crustaceans. A large oyster bed was found in 1823, and it yielded 50 million oysters within the first year; but overfishing led to its exhaustion within a decade.
Today there are still many families still making their living from fishing from the beach, mostly catching. Mackerel, smooth hound, cuttle fish, sea bass, whole place, crabs and lobsters, skate and the odd dog fish.
Local fisherman are a real asset to Worthing as inshore fisherman tend to fish on the same patch of sea, targeting different fish according to the seasons. They are the stewards of our coastal waters, it is in their interest to make sure local fish stocks are healthy and stay that way. Worthing fisherman use static gear which has very little impact on the seabed and is very selective. Unlike some industrial fishing methods, there is very little waste.
One great local catch is Brill, Scophthalmus rhombus, brill are the smaller rounder cousins of the well known turbot. They have slightly smaller flakes when cooked and a sweeter taste than their larger relatives.
Another seafront favourite is the whelk, buccinidae undatum. The humble whelk is an overcooked little snail, which is a real shame. Nearly all the whelks we catch here are sent to Korea, where they are considered a delicacy. If you have ever eaten fruits de mer in a French restaurant then you will know exactly how delicious they can be. They are meatier than cockles and winkles and have a delicate flavour which is shown off best by cooking them simply.
It’s all fish to us….