Ullapool celebrates shellfish

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Paul Parkyn teaches how to tail and shell langoustine

A celebration of shellfish was held in Ullapool last weekend, providing tasty treats and tips.

Organised by the Scottish Wildlife Trust’s Living Seas Project, the event saw five local businesses and chefs demonstrate how to prepare, cook, serve and eat locally caught prawn, scallops, crab, lobster and squat lobster (spineys) in front of an audience of several hundred people.

Members of the public were invited to sample the produce while catching techniques were also explained.

Ochran Oysters, grown by Ullapool, ready for sampling and Bloody Mary shooters

Ochran Oysters, grown by Ullapool, ready for sampling and Bloody Mary shooters

The Scottish Wildlife Trust’s Living Seas communities officer Noel Hawkins set up the event, which was supported by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation. He said: “The loch and isles off Ullapool were recently designated as a Marine Protected Area and this did create some tension between many who wanted to see our marine environment preserved and protected, and members of the fishing community who understandably had concerns that their livelihoods were under threat.

“The intention of the day was to try and showcase some of the shell food we catch and land here at Ullapool and along our coast, which is undoubtedly some of the finest in the world. We wanted to show that producing high quality seafood is compatible with low impact fisheries and some of the protective measures we now have in place in Loch Broom, and may even also benefit from these measures.

“Protecting our seas should mean that the local fishermen that work our waters are able to maintain a high quality and valuable catch.”

Salt Seafood Kitchen serve up samples of Summer Isles caught lobster on a fresh local salad from Achiltibuie Gardens

Salt Seafood Kitchen serve up samples of Summer Isles caught lobster on a fresh local salad from Achiltibuie Gardens

Karen Campbell, a local woman from a fishing family in Ullapool who now helps to run the catering at Harvey Nicols in Edinburgh, was judge.

She picked the Seafood Shack’s ‘spiney popcorn’ as overall winner while the Seaforth served hand-dived scallops with Stornoway black pudding, local chefs Barbie Whibley and Paul Parkyn served crab on avocado and langoustine on a salsa, while Achiltibuie’s Salt Seafood Kitchen served fresh lobster on a salad.

Fenella and Kirsty from the Seafood Shack with their prize

Fenella and Kirsty from the Seafood Shack with their prize

Members of the public not only tried samples of each serving but also took part in preparing, shelling and opening the different shellfish on offer. The day was finished with local Ochran Oyster Bloody Marys made with Ullapool’s newly founded 58 N Seaweed.

Joe from Ochran Oysters demonstrates how to ’shuck’ an oyster

Joe from Ochran Oysters demonstrates how to ’shuck’ an oyster