Britain’s fish and chips industry is a Cod-forsaken mess

Overfishing of cod has led to restrictions on the English fishing industry for the last few years, imperiling England’s favorite fish and chips.


August 20, 2019

Cod — the divinely flaky altar-piece behind any proper plate of fish and chips — was once something any Englishman could believe in.

But overfishing of Britain’s favorite fish has led to a 31% decrease in the stock of cod in the North Sea since 2015 — and now, some fishermen are losing their faith in Cod.

Cod populations have been drying up for decades

Once pervasive, northern Atlantic cod started declining in the 1970’s, forcing the UK to institute a “cod recovery plan” in 2006.

Populations briefly rebounded. But overfishing continued, forcing the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) to recommended a 47% decrease in the cod catch last year.

Now, Brits may have to scale business back even further

This year, ICES recommended an even larger 63% decrease. Based on the recommendation, the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) will decide next month whether or not to allow the UK’s 3 certified sustainable fisheries to continue catching cod. 

That’s a blasphemously bad deal for the English, who are devout when it comes to fish and chips: According to the esteemed National Federation of Fish Friers, 20% of Brits “make a weekly trip to the chippie” (translation: devour cod and fries once a week).

Already, 90% of the cod used at British fish and chips joints is imported, and if the MCS takes away the UK’s few remaining cod-catching’ licenses, prices of England’s favorite fish will rise even higher — enough to strike fear into the heart of any cod-fearing English consumer.

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