Demand for cod and haddock too high

THIS WEEK saw the last day that UK consumers eat home-grown fish.


Annual domestic fish stocks can satisfy demand for about 233 days a year – or until August 21 – according to a new report by the New Economics Foundation.


This leaves the UK reliant on imported fish, such as haddock and cod, with at least one in three fish consumed in the UK imported from outside the EU.


It is reliant on countries such as Iceland, Norway and China for a large share of traditional British fish, the “2012 Fish Dependence” report said.


Though dependent on foreign stock as of tomorrow, the UK does better than many of its European counterparts. The fish dependence days of France, Germany and Italy falling on May 21, April 20 and April 21 respectively, while EU citizens on average ran out of fish on July 7 this year.


Some UK caterers have also introduced policies to encourage the use of lesser-known, but abundant fish.


Overfishing means the UK is getting much less out of its fish stocks than if they were restored and sustainably managed. Rupert Crilly, of the NEF, said the UK’s cod and haddock stocks could deliver five and three times more catches respectively, if they were managed better.


“The UK is an island nation with access to some of the richest and most productive fishing grounds and has moderate levels of fish consumption compared to Spain and Portugal. It could produce as much as it needs but instead it is a net importer of fish.


“Consumers understand that we import tuna which is virtually non-existent in its in waters; but it will wonder why we need to import cod and haddock from China when our cod and haddock stocks could deliver five and three times more catches with better management.”


The UK has been a progressive voice in the reform of the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), which takes place this year. Environmentalists have called for a robust reform of the outdated policy, which has led to overfishing in many European waters.