Many pensioners believe the prevalence of fish in the Mediterranean diet explains the longevity of its people, though the possibility of turning into a very old Italian does deter a large proportion from adopting such a dietary regime.

Apart from sushi, gravlax and plimsole, fish is an extremely versatile and nourishing food, especially when poached in both senses of the word. There is also some evidence that eating fish can postpone the onset of dementia, though an unwanted side effect is the development of gills and the irrational desire to become a weather forecaster.

Processed fish, such as fish pie, fish fingers, fishcakes and fishplates can contain as little as 7% real fish, and should be avoided unless the only alternative is sushi.

In a recent survey, the most popular fish with UK residents were:

Red mullet. Named after an early hairstyle sported by Glen Hoddle, but nonetheless extremely good grilled and served with leeks and apples.

Coley. A relative inexpensive fish, not to be confused with colon, which is disgusting however cooked.

Julian Bream.