Frankie's Fish Course

Since the late spring of 2014, we have been running the Frankie's Fish Course in schools in Shetland.

It is entirely educational in approach and geared towards helping teachers meet sections of the Curriculum for Excellence, particularly those on sustainability and nutrition.

The course consists of a presentation which focuses on identifying species of fish such as haddock, cod and monkfish while introducing the concept of sustainability, or, as we put it for the benefit of younger children, making sure there is enough fish left in the sea for the next trip and every other trip after that.

We also highlight the nutritional value of seafood, in particular the omega 3 and mineral content.

The longest and most fun bit of the course is a hands-on session when we display freshly caught or harvested fish and shellfish.

This allows children to see and touch for themselves a range of round fish such as haddock, whiting, cod, ling and monkfish; flatfish such as lemon sole, megrim and plaice; and shellfish such as crab, scallops and mussels.

We ask them to identify the fish and point out some distinguishing features such as the so-called devil's thumbprint on haddock, the barbel on cod and the lure or "fishing rod" which means monkfish are often known as anglerfish - fish that catch fish.

We have had a fantastic response from the children and from the teaching staff who filled in very positive evaluation form to enable us further to improve the course.

To ensure follow-through from our visits, we left behind some sheets of paper with the Frankie's logo on them and asked the children to draw fish or shellfish. We promised that we would put all the images that were returned to us on our website and up on our digital display screen in the shop.

We were deluged with some amazing pictures! We not only fulfilled our promise but decided to award prizes to the artists behind our favourite pictures in the different year groups from the different schools, as well as a large art set to each participating class.

We have now produced a 2015 charity calendar of some of the drawings, with all proceeds destined for the Archie Foundation, which supports children's healthcare, and Anthony Nolan, the blood cancer charity and bone marrow register. 

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