"Cod & chips please"
Sounds good right? Mmm....chunky home-made chips covered in salt and vinegar and juicy cod wrapped in light, crispy batter....DELICIOUS! Reminds me of growing up in Cornwall and take-away night at our favourite chippy.
As I walked along Deal's busy seafront yesterday passing sign after sign:
Fish + Chips
Fish 'n' Chips
Fish and Chips
Fish & Chips
I was concerned to STILL see COD as the number one choice on each menu. I was part of the Greenpeace Seafood See Life campaign in 2009, when cod was on the vulnerable list and thought, "It must be on the endangered list by now..." So I did some research....
According to the Federation of Fish Friers
- the estimated number of Fish & Chip shops in the UK is 10,500
- approximately 22% of the population of the UK visit one every week
The FFF state that sustainability has been identified as a key business area the industry can embrace.
"To certify sustainability, the most recognised method is through working with the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC). The MSC 'Blue tick' ecolabel is the most trusted and recognised indicator of seafood sustainability and is used to show that seafood has come from an independently certified sustainable fishery."
Sounds good? Yes, but only 12 Fish & Chip shops have the label.....out of......errr.....10,500
Not doing sooooooo well...
"Cod are currently at risk from overfishing in the UK, Canada and most other Atlantic countries. As fisheries have become more efficient at catching cod, populations have declined.
Continued unregulated, unreported and illegal fishing, together with liberal quotas mean the stocks do not have a chance to recover. Use of indiscriminate fishing gear which leads to cod bycatch also contributes to the problem.
Global cod catch has suffered a 70% drop over the last 30 years, and if this trend continues, the world’s cod stocks will disappear in 15 years. Despite a moratorium of over 15 years, cod stocks in Canada's Grand Banks have still not recovered and there are fears the ecosystem has been permanently altered by humanity's greed."
Key findings from the
New Economics Foundation Fishery Policy:
· We know nothing about more than half our EU fish stocks
· 30-40% of the fish we land comes from illegal, unreported or unregulated sources
· Better data collection, control and law enforcement is vital for the future of EU fisheries
So...what can you do? Next time you buy fish, ask where and how it was caught. And if it wasn't sustainable, choose to go elsewhere. Imagine if it wasn't just me and a bunch of other fish lovers asking in the local chippy, but if it was a larger bunch of the 12 million people eating our traditional fish dish each week too? Now THAT would have an impact on the industry. If we all stood together, as conscious human beings making conscious decisions and refused to buy fish that wasn't caught sustainably, then the restaurants, chippies, fish markets & supermarkets
WOULD ALL CHANGE.
" We no longer have the luxury of tradition" Russel Brand
I'm sure if cod were as photogenic as polar bears, we wouldn't still be eating them....