Matthew and Steve met while scallop diving off the coast of Weymouth, and they set up The Handpicked Shellfish Company three years later. They now sell a range of seafood, and as avid conservationists are both passionate about the sustainability of their fishing methods.
The scallops are selected by hand, avoiding any damage to the seabed. The bass is linecaught, which means that they can focus on catching specific species and release any undersized fish. Their nets are static, with large mesh to ensure that no young fish are caught.
Fishing is a dangerous industry, something they are acutely aware of as they set out each day. But bobbing up and down on their little boats as they gaze back on Dorset and East Devon’s majestic Jurassic Coast – a world heritage site – makes it all worthwhile.
But fishing isn’t the only thing on these chaps’ CVs. If you watched TV in the 90s you may already have seen them. Whenever suspicious items were found in canals or lakes in such primetime dramas as Casualty, Eastenders, Dalziel & Pascoe, Murder in Mind and Harbour Lights, it was very often Matthew or Steve diving to retrieve them! ‘It was actually quite boring – lots of waiting around’ says Matthew. We get the impression they much prefer fishing.
‘We’re never going to compete with the supermarkets on price, but people should be paying the right money for local, sustainable fishing – which is something Farmdrop and its customers understand’ Matthew Baldwin, Handpicked Shellfish
● Sustainable methods with no overfishing or damage to the sea bed
● They have a seafood cafe, Quiddles, which is open in the summer
● Rick Stein’s ‘Food Heroes’