Norwegian Seafood Council^s response on sustainability
Article Date: 2013-04-05
We are pleased to see Calum Richardson responding to issues raised in Hugh’s Fish Fight by calling for ‘fish and chip shop owners to unite’ in order to present a balanced view of an industry that is making headway in the quest for sustainability.
We would, however, like to take this opportunity to clarify one of Mr Richardson’s points; all Norwegian cod and haddock is sustainable and carries the MSC blue tick – which Mr Richardson highlights in the following paragraph as the easy way for friers to guarantee sustainability. We support Mr Richardson’s point and encourage friers to look out for MSC certification wherever they buy their fish from.
We have been watching the progress that the UK and EU are making in terms of sustainable fisheries with great interest, and we hope that others will work to transform their fishing industries in the same way that Norway has.
We believe that the reputation of the fishing industry should not be viewed in country-specific isolation as consumers are unlikely to differentiate as Mr Richardson indicates via the drop off in sales of his hand-dived scallops. We are keen to see any nation strive for improvements, which will in turn benefit us all.
In Norway we banned discards over 25 years ago and we have the highest proportion of MSC certified fisheries in the world, demonstrated by the 33 per cent increase in our 2013 Barents Sea cod quota, taking our total TAC to 1,000,000 tonnes.
We admire Mr Richardson’s commitment to buying sustainable and locally sourced fish. He also acknowledges that as a result of price and preference friers do buy from outside of UK waters. To this we would add that availability is also key; the British public enjoy 382 million portions of fish and chips every year, that’s 91,200 tonnes, and with a cod quota of 10,311 tonnes it is not realistic for friers to buy British cod alone.
Your readers may recall a news story that we have seen repeatedly in recent years highlighting The New Economics Foundation’s (NEF) Fish Dependence campaign. Every year NEF release figures about domestic demand for fish. In 2012 it told us the EU only had enough fish to meet demand for 233 days a year –so EU waters effectively dried up on July 6th, again illustrating that there is a requirement for fish from outside the EU.
The Norwegian Seafood Council is a key sponsor of the Independent Takeaway Fish & Chip Shop of the Year award, of which The Bay was a deserving winner, and we look forward to continuing to work with the UK’s fish and chip shop sector in the years to come.
Director, UK and France
Norwegian Seafood Council