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Fish Friers


Article Date: 2019-09-26

Following the news regarding 'North sea cod to lose sustainability certification, fish and chip inustry partners and suppliers have supplied the following message to pass on the industry.

NFFF President Andrew Crook said “The situation regarding North Sea cod is extremely complicated, but it goes to show the industry has put systems in place to look into the management of fish stocks and the systems are working which are alerting us to the shortage in North Sea Cod.

However the headline which have appeared in the media such as ‘OH MY COD - Fish & chips at risk as low levels of cod put stocks in danger of COLLAPSE’ are highly inaccurate due to the majority of fish and chip ship in the UK using  MSC Sustainable fishing grounds of the North Atlantic (including the Barents Sea & Norwegian Sea).

I have just returned from a study trip in Norway and saw first-hand the efforts that as being made from fishermen in catching the fish we use in our shops.”

Malcolm Large, Executive Director of FASFA “Given today’s news that North Sea Cod has lost its MSC certification, it’s entirely understandable that UK consumers might be confused about where the fish in their local chippy is sourced from and the impact their decision to continue enjoying fish and chips might have on the environment as a result. But fans of fish and chips shouldn’t be worried. 

The fact is, most of the cod and haddock sold in UK fish and chip shops is sourced from sustainable, MSC-certified fisheries in the North Atlantic, frozen at sea and imported direct to shops. These fisheries are highly regulated and well-managed, so there is no need to customers to worry about continuing to choose fish and chips – it’s a perfectly sustainable (and delicious!) option. 

As an industry, we take the sustainability of the cod and haddock we supply as seriously as we do its traceability and quality. It has never been more important to consumers to know that they are making responsible choices. Over 95% of fish and chip shops in the UK serve frozen at sea fillets means that UK consumers can continue to choose cod with a clear conscience. 

The fact that North Sea cod has lost its certification clearly illustrates that the situation is being closely monitored and managed and that the system is working. Every link in the seafood supply chain is working hard, and working together, to secure a healthy and sustainable future for the industry.”


Seafish noted “North Sea Cod is still a sustainably managed fishery and fishermen can still catch it within the agreed limits, there will just be less of it available to buy. The decision to reduce the allowed catch is a great example of responsible fisheries management and the UK fishing industry is right behind it. In fact, they have gone a step further by initiating their own plan to get the stocks back to a level that hopefully sees it MSC certified again in the future.

“Fortunately for UK consumers who enjoy fish and chips, there are other sources for the nation’s favourite dish and the majority of the cod we eat here comes from waters around Norway and Iceland where supply is plentiful.”

Samles Fish Merchants commented "Amid more new stories regarding sustainability, we would again like to reassure & reaffirm that 95% of all Cod consumed in UK Fish & Chip Shops is harvested from the MSC - Marine Stewardship Council Certified Sustainable fishing grounds of the North Atlantic (including the Barents Sea & Norwegian Sea).

As the biggest supplier of Frozen At Sea Cod & Haddock to UK Fish & Chip shops, Smales are proud to hold full MSC Chain Of Custody Accreditation. Every customer we serve is able to source MSC Certified Sustainable Cod & Haddock from us all year round to ensure their customers will be able to enjoy their favourite takeaway now, and for years to come."

Fish Friers