A Swanage fisherman has launched a new business selling locally caught clams.
Tom Greasty, who owns Swanage Sea Fishing, has converted an old fisherman’s shed he leases from the town council into a shellfish purification unit.
“First time anyone has done this”
As well as running popular angling trips from the bay, Tom is a deputy coxswain at Swanage Lifeboat Station. He has been clam fishing for 20 years and is a spokesman on issues affecting anglers. He fishes commercially from his boat Dawn Fisher out of Poole Harbour.
“I’ve been clam fishing for many years, starting out as a crew member and then getting my own licence.
“The idea is to supply fresh clams to restaurants and individuals in Swanage. It will be the first time anyone has done this, and it fits well with the idea of sustainable production.”
The new clam processing unit
The conversion of the hut from a store and workshop was done by Swanage builder Andy Redout. It meant installing a stainless-steel fish preparation workstation, fitting up an ice machine and putting in a shellfish storage system. Tom says he has had good support from Swanage Town Council.
Clams are bivalve molluscs that are filter feeders. So, in order to make them suitable for eating, the system purifies seawater with UV light and allows them to clean themselves out. It has meant rigorous checks by environmental health.
Swanage Sea Fishing runs three recreational fishing boats out of the town
“Excited to get stuck in”
The project has involved an investment of around £10,000. Like many businesspeople in the current economic climate they faced difficulties in getting building materials, alongside rocketing inflation.
“I’m excited to get stuck in. I have a good relationship with local restaurants and there’s been a lot of support for the idea.”
As well as clams, Tom hopes the unit will enable him to process lobster and crab and give him space to prepare other fish for local restaurants and private buyers.
The processing unit allows the clams to be cleaned with UV treated seawater