Hurrah! Fish And Chips For Tea – North Sea Cod Is Back On The Menu

Hurrah! Fish And Chips For Tea – North Sea Cod Is Back On The MenuHurrah! Fish And Chips For Tea – North Sea Cod Is Back On The MenuSeafish, the industry authority, today welcomed the award of Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification for North Sea cod, proving that stocks are at a sustainable level. The application for this certification was supported by funding from the Seafish Strategic Investment Programme (SIP), in partnership with major retailers, seafood processors namely Icelandic Seachill and Youngs, the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations (NFFO) and the Scottish Fishermen’s Sustainability Accreditation Group (SFSAG).

Achieving MSC certification is the culmination of many years’ work which has involved collaboration across all sectors of the industry. As recently as 2006, stocks of cod fell to a historical low, leading to the implementation of a ‘Cod Recovery Plan’ developed by the EU Fisheries Council and Norway. The successful recovery plan, together with efforts from an industry coalition of fishing organisations, including the SFSAG, has seen North Sea cod pass an independent assessment against the MSC’s strict standard as of 19 July 2017.

Cod is one of the most widely eaten fish species in the UK, hugely popular with consumers and a staple ingredient in the nation’s favourite dish, fish and chips.

Marcus Coleman, Chief Executive of Seafish, said:”This is brilliant news for both the industry and consumers, and Seafish is delighted to see North Sea cod awarded MSC certification. It is our mission to support a profitable, sustainable and socially responsible seafood industry, and this is a shining example of how industry and science can work together for a profoundly positive outcome.”

The MSC set standards for sustainable fishing and supply chain traceability. Products which pass these standards are awarded the blue MSC label which gives consumers assurance that their favourite fish is sustainably sourced and fully traceable. This certification not only enhances the reputation of North Sea cod, but helps widen the number of sustainable choices available to the British consumer, enabling them to eat more fish more often.

Claire Pescod, Senior Fisheries Outreach Manager MSC UK & Ireland, said:”Today’s certification marks the end of the cod confusion. If you can see the MSC label on your cod, you know that it has come from a sustainable source.

“Thanks to a collaborative, cross-industry effort, one of our most iconic fish has been brought back from the brink.”

The SFSAG and the NFFO were two key organisations from the catching sector involved in securing this outcome.

Mike Park, Chairman of the SFSAG, comments:”This is a massive development for the catching sector and is a testament to the power of collective action.  The years of commitment to rebuilding North Sea cod has shown that fishermen are responsible and can be trusted to deliver stable and sustainable stocks. The consumer can now eat home-caught cod with a clear conscience.”