Fish & chips it’s still on the menu, proclaims Seafish CEO, Marcus Coleman
Don’t worry about media coverage on the end of fish and chips – it’s still on the menu, says Seafish CEO, Marcus Coleman.
Seafish Chief, Marcus Coleman has reacted to the latest “sensationalist media reporting” on sustainability in the UK seafood supply chain.
Some media outlets have been creating an unnecessary stir by calling for fish & chips to be taken off the menu to protect threatened species after a report from the World Wide Find for Nature warned that fishing methods are harming whales, dolphins, tuna, sharks and seabirds.
According to WWF themselves, “approximately 3 billion people in the world reply on wild-caught and farmed seafood as a primary source of protein”. Seafood is an important source of nutritious food for poor regions of the world. Eliminating fishing would be disastrous for the people living in these countries.
In the UK it is estimated that 887,000 tonnes of seafood is consumed annually, 80 percent of which is imported from abroad. Cod for the takeaway menu in many fast-food outlets comes from countries such as Norway and Russia, whilst prawns can come from as far away as Thailand. This creates a problem for some eNGOs who criticise the carbon footprint as these products make their way across the globe to the UK.
The UK seafood industry has faced some years of challenges between the COVID-19 pandemic, Brexit and now high fuel costs. The claims by some UK tabloids for the end of fish & chips has been disappointing and adds another level of pressure in the industry.
Responding to the media reports Marcus Coleman said:
“There‘s been some recent media reaction suggesting that concerns about the global footprint of UK seafood consumption means that we need to take fish off the menu. This week we’ve seen disappointing examples of sensationalist reporting, with tactless tabloid headlines proclaiming the end of fish and chips.
“It’s particularly frustrating to see these types of headlines appearing at a time when seafood businesses are facing significant challenges. Most recently with skyrocketing energy costs and new restrictions on global seafood supply chains following the impacts of the Russian war in Ukraine. This is a tough time for many businesses across the seafood sector. There’s no doubt that impacts are being significantly felt by everyone in the industry – these businesses could really use the nation’s support.
“Fish and chips has long been a favourite dish across the nation because it offers a good value and nutritious meal. The NHS encourages everyone to eat two portions of seafood a week for health and nutrition reasons but as a nation, the UK is falling short of this target. Media articles like the ones we have seen this week risk putting people off eating seafood completely which is unfortunate.
“It’s especially disappointing when media articles make no mention of the good work that’s already happening to support sustainability and responsible sourcing practices across our seafood supply chain. The fisheries that our fish and chips come from are well managed with robust data collection and scientific assessments in place. Many already have, or are in the process of applying for, third-party sustainability certification.
“Ultimately the seafood industry, in collaboration with government and the research community, continues to work hard to ensure we have sustainable, delicious and healthy seafood on our plates today and in the future.”