Sign of the times makes splash

22:52, Jul 08 2014
Ben Jurgensen

A new Nelson fishmonger is banking on a multilingual sign to create an Asian clientele.

Ben Jurgensen, who owns small inshore fishing boat the Reliance, is buying fish from two other Nelson commercial vessels and taking on the big operators with his refrigerated truck.

He sells at the Nelson Farmers' Market and directly to customers at rest homes and on Thursdays he's at Eat Me in St Vincent St, where yesterday he put up his new sign.

Sporting a picture of a gurnard, it advertises "Whole fresh fish" in English - and in Thai, Hindi, Chinese, Japanese, Tagalog (Philippine), Turkish, Burmese and Korean.

Backing off a translation fee quote of $50 per language, he got it done by various ethnic restaurants around Nelson.

In business for six weeks, Jurgensen found that although he's had great feedback from customers, he hasn't yet attracted Asian shoppers.


Hence the sign, which he said was also recognition of Nelson's diversity - something he hasn't seen reflected in any other signage in the city, even at the Multicultural Resource Centre in Bridge St.

"How is someone that's fresh to New Zealand without any knowledge of English meant to even know that it's a multicultural centre?"

With more than 15 years' fishing industry experience, he said his knowledge of the product made him a true fishmonger, able to talk about the catch history and culinary attributes of the fish he is selling.

He said he would only sell fish caught by local boats.

"Gurnard is a staple. Terakihi, monk, leatherjackets, warehou, silver dory.

"I don't do the big four which have been promoted horrendously price-wise, being groper, john dory, snapper and blue cod - they're well over the $30 [a kilo for fillets] mark. I'm trying to educate people that there are alternatives."

He offered whole fish which he hoped Asian buyers would be keen on, and boneless, skinless fillets ranging from $22 to $29 a kilo, he said. Feedback had been "100 per cent positive - awesome".

Aquafresh Products in Vanguard St is handling the fish, with the catch sold on Thursday being landed on Tuesday night and processed on Wednesday.

"The fishermen I deal with are all aiming at the Auckland fish market, because they get better money up there.

"Obviously I'm paying more than the likes of the big boys in town, to have some fish left for me to sell."

The Nelson Mail