Could cod and chips soon be a thing of the past?

Jenny and Chris Richardson of Richardsons Fish Bar
Jenny and Chris Richardson of Richardsons Fish Bar
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Government boffins may have suggested cod and chips could soon be a thing of the past – but local chippy owners say they just can’t see the idea of squid ‘catching’ on.

Because of warmer waters around the UK, more squid than ever is being caught in the North Sea, while the likes of cod are heading north, top scientists have announced.

Christopher Richardson with the nations favourite - cod and chips

Christopher Richardson with the nations favourite - cod and chips

Chris Richardson, from The Fish Bar in Dock Street, Fleetwood, said: “To think cod and haddock will be off the menu is a load of codswallop!

“We are an island surrounded by water and we have been brought up with fish and chips. It’s our heritage and it will always be here to stay.”

Squid is now being caught at 60 per cent of North Sea survery stations, up from 20 per cent in the 80s, the government report found, while fishing boats are hauling in species that have never been caught in the area before.

And Dr John Pinnegar, from the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science, said seawater temperatures may continue to rise.

What do you ink of squid?  Could it ever replace cod?

What do you ink of squid? Could it ever replace cod?

He said: “UK consumers enjoy eating quite a limited range of seafood, but in the long-term we will need to adapt our diets.

“In 2025 and beyond, we may need to replace cod and other old favourites with warm-water species such as squid, mackerel, sardine and red mullet.”

“I would anticipate that currently small-scale fisheries targeting warm-water species such as squid, sardine and anchovy will continue to expand.

“They will probably represent a greater share of UK fisheries catches in 10 years’ time.”

But Mr Richardson warned Dr Pinnegar’s comments should be taken with a pinch of salt.

He said more fish could soon be caught and frozen off the likes of Norway and Iceland, but said it is often caught, filleted, skinned and frozen within six hours, while ‘fresh’ fish can be two weeks old by the time it lands on a dinnerplate.

He said: “I think more chippies will be forced into using frozen fish as the price of fresh fish will be too expensive to use. But there’s no difference in taste.

“The fish industry as it was in the UK is not there now. We don’t rely on fish caught in our waters, there’s a lot imported from Iceland, Norway, the Faroe Islands, even from Russia. It’s caught 24 hours earlier and flown home.

“There will always be cod in one form or another.”

Pavlos Menelaou, the owner of Yorkshire Fisheries in Topping Street, Blackpool, is originally from Cyprus and enjoys squid, but said customers ‘pull a funny face’ when they see him eating it.

“People here don’t like it at all,” he said. “Cod is number one and then it’s haddock.”

The research was presented at a British Ecology Society event in Liverpool yesterday.