Story of Eglite fishing family
Kristine Eglite comes from those fishing families who devotedly follow the traditions of fishing. Their daily survival is not easy, yet their niche has been found. The days pass in a certain rhythm – father and brother go to sea for fish, while family women and assistants work with fish processing in workshop. Christine's role in this process is to be closer to the buyer – she stands behind the counter on the market of Āgenskalns and Čiekurkalns (markets in Riga) and sells customers’ favoured fish prepared according to her special recipes. Selling fish is not the correct wording – for each fish she has her own, a lively fisherman's story, each fish product has its own, family recipe.
Kristines family has been engaged in fishing for three generations. Their fishermen family is not as old as many others living on the sea, but enough to develop fishing skills.
She speaks with a passion about catching fish. Although the sea appears to be an unlimited resource, it is divided between fishermen. The licences determine where fishing is allowed. It is usually closer to home. There is no big controversy among fishermen since they have a long-standing agreement on fishing grounds.
It turns out that breams like the sea with brown waters – the Baltic sea. Salmon-like species and whitefish are better off when the sea is booming, especially after storms. So Kristine's father waited for the appropriate weather to go fishing.
In Eglītis (surname) family only father and brother go fishing - cutting and squatting has always been the chore of women. No wonder why the elderly generation passes away with untold fish cooking recipes, since each mistress has her own hand. Kristine, too, has trouble telling about the mixture and the amount of spices to pour on, because she is guided by feelings not exact amounts.
She loves fish from childhood, even when the fish wasn't available at home. Two weeks in the New Year, when she doesn't work and rests she drives to buy fish in the supermarket. Everybody eats! Daddy likes to eat warm fish from the frame.
There is a production unit in the village where a whole family and two other assistants are working. A fantastic assistant who fries the fish – she has the best marinade recipes known. There is also a small shop nearby the road where one can buy fish. But locals know where their production unit is located and where the best fish is produced and smoked, and they go straight there– on Wednesdays and Fridays. His son has ideas about opening a small kiosk, but these plans are for future.
Has the pandemic had an impact on fisheries?
Kristine answers without hesitation “not really”. Loyal customers continue to come for fish. Their family doesn't have an outward trade in fairs and town festivals. These events during 2020 season most probably will be cancelled. She points out that their family has two sales points – in Āgenskalns and Čiekurkalns markets in Riga – sales are steady there. The client, as it came, it comes. The only change seen during pandemic – shoppers has become more intolerant to each other.
Customers are gained by word of mouth. Kristine knows her clients and already knows what fish they will buy. The offer is not very broad since it should be sold within few days and she wants always to offer fresh fish production. A lot of cooking recipes have been developed in collaboration with customers who are key tacos and critics – one says “too spicy”, another “too mild”. Kristine favours spicier but if a customer wants it milder, a common denominator should be found.