A WEST Cork fishmonger has made it to the finals of the BIM Young Fishmonger of the year awards.
Eight fishmongers – four from Independent seafood specialists and four from supermarket seafood counters – will compete for a number of national titles, which will be announced at the Clayton Hotel in Dublin in November.
Stephen Hurley of The Fish Shop – which is owned by Glenmar Shellfish Ltd – in Union Hall has been listed with three other finalists in the Independent Seafood Specialist Category.
Stephen has worked in The Fish Shop for the past ten years, but his interest in fishing and boats predates that. As a boy, he would watch the fishermen land their daily catches on the pier in Union Hall.
And, as a teenager, he worked as a crewman on a shrimp boat hauling shrimp pots every morning with his neighbour.
At The Fish Shop, Stephen prides himself on stocking locally caught fish and shellfish, and on any given day can have upwards of 25 different species of fish and shellfish in store.
Stephen is well known in the locality for his specialist knowledge of seafood but also for his sporting prowess with Castlehaven football team. His role as a volunteer crew member with the recently-formed Union Hall Lifeboat Station also keeps him busy. And he is among a number of the lifeboat crewmembers to be trained at the RNLI training college in Poole in Dorset in the UK.
His job is kind of a labour of love for Stephen because he is in the unique position of being on first-name terms with the skippers and crews and can tell a customer exactly where their fish was caught and by whom.