Arctic Charr

Arctic CharrArctic charr is a fish highly prized for its meaty texture and mild, yet distinctive flavour. Since the last ice-age charr have thrived in the cold, pure water of glacial lakes on Ireland’s Atlantic seaboard - elusive to anglers because of their habit of lurking at the bottom of the deep lakes.

Now, thanks to an innovative aquaculture enterprise based on sustainability, eco-friendliness and harmony with its natural environment, this tasty fish is more widely available. It was the natural presence of Arctic charr in nearby Lough Talt that inspired Bill Carty and his wife Mari Johnston to redevelop structures previously used for mushroom farming to create a state-of-the-art fish farm on Bill’s small family farm at the foot of the Ox Mountains near Tubbercurry in Co. Sligo. They are the first to farm Arctic charr in Ireland - and Cloonnacool Arctic Charr is Ireland’s first re-circulation fish farm.

Bill Carty - Arctic CharrIn nature, charr live close to the bottom and young and old get along well together; indeed they fail to thrive unless they are able to stay in close proximity to each other, which makes them ideal candidates for farming. The aim at Cloonacool is to keep the fish as close to their natural environment as possible, and they are fed with pure spring water with nothing added except food and oxygen – no chemicals, antibiotics or colourings are used.

After use in the tanks, the water is filtered through the Sligo limestone and natural reed beds before recirculation: the reeds, which are cut to the ground each winter, take up nutrients from the water - and, when this natural filtration process is complete, it is pure enough to be fed back into the tanks. (Biological filters ensure that ammonia and C02, which accumulate naturally, are removed from the water.)

Although only introduced to the market in 2006, this fish has already proved a hit in Ireland with both chefs and discerning diners, who delight in the white meaty flesh with a taste that is between trout and halibut. A very healthy food, it is low in fat, rich in Omega 3 and a source of many essential nutrients. Arctic charr is served in leading restaurants, and available from selected fishmongers and many farmers' markets.

Arctic Charr with Lemon Butter and Flaked AlmondsRecipe:

Arctic Charr with Lemon Butter and Flaked Almonds

Click here for recipe

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