Inner-City Fish

I’d think twice about eating fish from New York’s East River. But the Thames? After reading the UK Independent’s wonderful profile of Martin Yorwarth—a day fishermen who works the waters of London’s once famously polluted river—I’d be enthusiastic about finding a Thames-caught Dover sole or gurnard.

Steering around abandoned anchors and sunken barges, Yorwarth brings in sole and gurnard along with oysters, herring, and dabs, among other fish, all of which he sells at farmers’ markets in and around London. The initial sales there take some time, because, well, his fishing grounds don’t look like they’re for fishing. Says the Independent: “Under dark, rain-heavy skies the shoreline resembles an aquatic version of Blade Runner, with cranes, fuelling platforms and wooden piers all jostling for position with the refinery’s jumbled assortment of pipes and gas flues.”

But even so, the water quality on the Thames has improved so much that, Yorwarth says, on “a sunny day it can be impossible to trawl because the water’s so clear the fish see the nets coming.”