Directly below Catch at the Old Fish Market, and part of the same quayside family of businesses, you’ll find Weyfish; for over 30 years Weymouth’s traditional harbourside fishmonger.
It’s part of a unique local partnership that connects the fishing community, the shop and the restaurant. The boats fish the inshore waters and land daily to Weyfish. The fishmonger weighs in and prepares their catch. The restaurant selects the freshest fish and shellfish for the table. That’s the supply chain, end-to-end, sea to plate.
The freshest local fish and shellfish
In the white-tiled interior, Weyfish’s recently refurbished counters are piled high with fresh Dorset seafood. Daily landings mean mainstays like Portland crab and lobster, hand-dived scallops, sea bass in season, fresh mackerel and local oysters are readily available. But with over 40 local species at home in the clear waters off the Dorset coast, from John Dory to Billy Winters, the truth is, you never know quite what the tide will bring in.
Behind the counters are Steve Abbott and Tim Withers - highly skilled, experienced fishmongers who've worked with fish all their careers. There's craft and artistry to everything they do, whether they’re preparing favourites for regular customers or helping to pick out something different for a special occasion.
A community business
Weyfish is a community business, serving the local fleet of small, owner-operated, day boats that fish sustainably with lines, pots and static nets. And Weyfish is part of that community. The Weyfish Boat Company operates two boats, Weyfish One and Tarka, for bass, shellfish and flat fish.
“There are two things that make Weyfish special.” says owner Sean Cooper. “The first is our location right on the harbour, in touching distance of the local fleet. You can watch the fishermen dragging their catch across the quay for weighing in. There’s a clear and obvious link between the fish we sell and the boats that supply it.
Secondly, we have a personal relationship with over 30 local boats, so we have a constant supply of fresh, sustainably caught local seafood.
Our fish is just hours old when it reaches the counter.”
The emphasis on the local catch translates into sales in the shop. Local landings account for over 70% of everything Weyfish sells. It’s because of this connection to the fleet that customers have confidence in the produce. “Above all, our customers value freshness” explains Sean.
Chefs value it too. “It’s amazing to work with ingredients that are this fresh and of such incredible quality,” says Executive Chef at Catch, Mike Naidoo, “the supply chain is right on our doorstep. From the kitchen, we can go downstairs to see exactly what the boats have just brought in, and we can create our menu every day to reflect that.”
Hand picking and processing
Out on Portland Beach, Weyfish also has a facility to store live crab and lobster in a specially filtered, temperature-controlled environment. Both are cooked and processed direct from live storage, never frozen. “We hand-pick our crab the old-fashioned way, on a daily basis. It’s much better than any modern mechanised operation.”
If you can't visit the shop in person, Weyfish, like many small businesses, has recently gone digital. Online orders are hand-packed straight from the counters every day for delivery nationwide. And if you live closer by, residents in postcodes DT1-5 can join Weyfish Local and enjoy an extra discount and personal delivery.
You’ll find Weyfish at 1 Custom House Quay, on the Weymouth harbourside. The shop is open six days a week, Monday to Saturday from 9am to 4.30pm, and Sundays from 10am to 4pm.