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Fishermen launch charity herring sale in Richmond

The province's commercial fishing community launches its first annual charity herring sale this weekend from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday (Dec. 3) and Sunday (Dec. 4), or until the herring sells out, in Richmond.

The province's commercial fishing community launches its first annual charity herring sale this weekend from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday (Dec. 3) and Sunday (Dec. 4), or until the herring sells out, in Richmond.

The sale raises money for the BC Children's Hospital Foundation to support children with cancer and takes place at the south end of Trites Road (12740 Trites Rd.) in Steveston.

"We started as a small group of fishing friends with a conviction to help kids with cancer and today are simply astounded by the overwhelming support that we have received from throughout the entire industry," said B.C. fisherman and event spokesperson Harvey Gifford.

The idea began with a group of fishermen determined to provide support for children with cancer after standing by as loved ones battled the disease, particularly kids.

The charitable herring fishery had been a tradition in the province for 50 years until 2007 and raised over $250,000 for orphaned children. The group decided to bring this idea back with the herring sale.

The event has received donations such as the operation of the fishing vessel, Prosperity, its fishing license, fuel, fishing gear and ice, which allows all proceeds to go to the foundation.

"We are also grateful to all those who have come forward to volunteer their time to take on the many roles involved to put on the event from distributing posters around town to bagging the fish for sale," said Gifford.

The Prosperity will harvest 60 tonnes of herring from the Gulf of Georgia and deliver it to the dock for $10 per 20lb bag. Buyers are also invited to bring their own bucket.

Donations can be made to the BC Children's Hospital Foundation at To volunteer, email with availability. For more information, call 604-328-7835, or visit the Facebook page, Fishermen Helping Kids with Cancer, for updates.

Blue Water Cafe's executive chef Frank Pabst provided two herring recipes, cured herring tartare with Granny Smith apple, red onions and coriander, and grilled herring with fingerling potatoes, savoy cabbage, bacon and carawy. See below.

Cured Herring Tartare with Granny Smith Apple, Red Onions and Coriander

Serves 4


Herring Tartare

2 cups water

1/4 cup salt

1 Tbsp sugar

4 frozen herrings, thawed and scaled

2 Granny smith apples

2 Tbsp sour cream

1 Tbsp yogurt

1 Tbsp mayonnaise

juice of 1 lemon

1 Tbsp chopped dill

1 Tbsp chopped chives

1 Tbsp coriander seeds, toasted and crushed

2 Tbsp finely diced red onion

1 bunch baby watercress + a few sprigs for garnish

2 Tbsp walnut oil

dash of sherry vinegar

4 slices pumpernickel bread

Onion Beignets

4 cups canola oil, for deep-frying

1/4 cup tempura flour

1/4 cup water, ice cold

1/2 small onion, cut in 8 thin rings


Herring Tartare

In a medium saucepan, combine water, salt and sugar and bring to a boil on high heat. Remove from the heat, allow to cool, then chill this brine in the refrigerator.

On each herring, make an incision behind either side of the head to expose the spine. Place the herring on its back, then pull the head slowly upwards and towards the tail. This way you should be able to pull out most of the tiny bones, although you will likely never get them all. Cut out the fins, then cut the fillets o_ the bones and debone the flesh as much as possible. Discard heads, spines and fins. Place fillets in the cold brine for 1 hour, then lay them out on a dry towel and scrape o_ most of the skin. Cut the herring fillets into ¬ inch dice. Reserve a few pieces for garnish.

Peel and core one apple and cut it into ¬ inch dice. Core the remaining apple, then julienne on a mandolin.

In a small bowl, mix together sour cream, yogurt, mayonnaise, lemon juice, dill and chives. Season with salt and pepper. Add coriander seeds, red onion, diced apple and herrings.

Toss julienned apple with watercress, walnut oil and vinegar.

Onion Beignets

In a deep fryer or a deep pot, heat canola oil to 350 f. In a small bowl, combine flour and water until just mixed. There will still be small lumps in the batter. Dip onion rings in the batter, then fry them for 1 minute or until golden brown. Remove from the oil and allow them to drain on several layers of paper towel. Season with salt.

To serve

On each of four plates, arrange a quarter of the herring tartare in a line. Top with the reserved herring pieces and the apple salad. Arrange watercress around the plate and serve with a slice of pumpernickel bread and two onion beignets.

Suggested wine

Stronger-flavoured fish fare well with sharp acidic wines. Try a Marlborough riesling.


Grilled Herring with Fingerling Potatoes, Savoy Cabbage, Bacon and Caraway

Serves 4


12 small fingerling potatoes

1/3 cup unsalted butter

2 slices of bacon, in thin strips

1 onion, thinly sliced

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

1 tsp caraway seeds

1 head savoy cabbage, cored and thinly sliced

1/2 cup white wine

1 cup chicken stock

3 to 4 sprigs parsley, chopped (about 1 Tbsp)

1 tbsp dijon mustard

1/2 lemon

8 fresh herrings, scaled, gutted and rinsed

1 Tbsp canola oil


Add potatoes to a medium pot of salted water. Bring to a boil and cook for about 10 minutes until potatoes are cooked through. Remove them from the water, allow to cool slightly and peel them. Heat half of the butter in a large saut pan on medium heat. Add bacon and render for 2 minutes, then add onion, garlic and caraway seeds and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add Savoy cabbage, season with salt and pepper, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add wine and cook until wine has reduced completely, 3 to 4 minutes. Add chicken stock and cook for about 5 minutes until cabbage is done. Add parsley and potatoes, and heat until warmed through.

Drain the cabbage, straining the cooking liquid through a fine-mesh sieve into a saucepan. Reserve the cabbage and the potatoes. Whisk Dijon mustard and the remaining half of the butter into the liquid, then finish with a squeeze of lemon juice.

Preheat a grill to high. Brush herrings lightly with canola oil, season with salt and pepper and grill for 2 to 3 minutes on each side.

To serve

On each of four plates, arrange two herrings. Heap a quarter of the cabbage and potatoes to the side and drizzle the dish with the mustard sauce.

Suggested wine

Try a Champagne with some roundness and firm acidity. A blanc de blancs would work nicely.