Through his direct-selling business, Tizzardlee-on Shellfish, fisherman Daniel Gilbert has supplied lobster and crab to the likes of seafood lovers in Newquay, customers at award-winning Cornish restaurants, and the politicians of the G7 Summit. That’s quite an impressive consumer base for a family-run operation that started just two years ago.
“My brother started the business but gave it up after a couple of weeks – he wasn’t fond of the customer service part,” Daniel laughed, “so I gave it a go instead.”
Like most direct-selling initiatives, Tizzardlee-on Shellfish was born out of the pandemic and an unprecedented demand for access to local seafood after fishmongers and restaurants shut. In its early days, Daniel saw huge success: “We had a humongous queue for the fish, I mean my jaw just dropped when I looked up from the boat.”
“I got some really big restaurants involved too, like Emily Scott Food in Watergate Bay, and Chef Henk [Henk De Villiers Ferreira] who owns a couple of places around Padstow and Wadebridge. They really loved our lobster.”
Daniel and his brother still enjoy the regular custom of locals who reach out through their Facebook page for fresh shellfish, as well as selling directly through the Cornish fish markets and visitors to Newquay throughout the seasons: “People love coming and meeting us as we’re coming in and talking to us about our trip. Luckily I love talking about my job to people! People always ask if they can come out with us as well.”
Daniel has tested the sea-legs of many non-fishermen, taking PhD students and Netflix film crews out on the waves. Everyone wants a peek at the fishy business, and Daniel obliges!
When Daniel is not hosting camera crews or out fishing, he’s spending time with his daughter whom he is trying, and succeeding, to get into fishing: “She loves going to see daddy’s boat and helping out! She’s all over it!”.
A fisherman’s trade is dependent on the weather, which can be a huge source of anxiety, with or without a little one to care for: “We’ve been doing well through the winter thanks to some really fine weather, up until the last storm at least.” Daniel said, reflecting on the perilous storm Eunice which battered all fronts of the Cornish coast in late February 2022. “We didn’t sleep for a few weeks thinking of all the pots that would be smashed when we woke up. Thankfully only four pots were damaged out of 1000!”
Daniel and his brother are looking forward to the summer, and have invested in a new business venture for Tizzardlee-on Shellfish; a fish van! The van, which will be stationed on the Newquay harbour, will be selling tubs of freshly caught shellfish, such as mussels, cockles and crab. Customers will also be able to buy some tasty pre-assembled barbecue packs – another product they are introducing this summer.
“The barbecue packs will include two lobsters, two brown crabs, spider crab and a handful of prawns. Then customers can come and get it off the boat, take it back to their holiday home, and put it straight on the barbecue!”
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