North Sea cod could soon disappear from fish and chip shops and supermarkets

North Sea cod could soon disappear from fish and chip shops and supermarkets after it was announced by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) that its sustainably caught certificate was to be suspended.

A report today by the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea, the world’s oldest intergovernmental science organisation, says there are currently only approximately 81,000 tonnes of cod in the North Sea even though it was previously projected that stocks would reach 180,000 tonnes this year.[1]

Stocks of North Sea cod have declined dramatically in the last two years and the latest scientific advice indicates that they are at increased risk of collapse.

It is not clear why numbers have fallen so drastically, but it has been suggested that climate change and warming waters are to blame. [2]

Catherine Rowett, Green Party Member of the European Parliament for the East of England said:

“This is yet another stark reminder about how fragile our environment and food chains are. Our fish stocks and our oceans are facing an ecological crisis.

“Sadly our governments have continued to ignore scientific evidence. They have allowed industrial overfishing to continue unabated, with devastating consequences for our oceans and for our fisheries.”

“For too long, large fishing trawlers have squeezed out the smaller, more environmentally friendly boats on which local communities depend. The situation is now urgent, and action is needed without delay. We must phase out the biggest trawlers which cause the most damage, and instead go back to having more sustainable inshore fishing vessels.”

Small, coastal boats under 10 metres, which make up 77% of the English fleet, only have the right to catch 3% of the total English catch of quota-controlled fish such as cod, haddock, plaice, sole, herring and mackerel (2018 figures)

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