Published: Mon, March 20, 2017
Economy | By Annette Adams

Stop Having Haddock In Your Fish & Chips, Says MCS

Stop Having Haddock In Your Fish & Chips, Says MCS

UK-based environmental charity the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) has downgraded three haddock fisheries on its "Good Fish Guide", citing "a change in scientific advice".

The latter's decision to remove haddock from three areas from its "fish to eat" list this week was lampooned by Scottish fishermen.

Bernadette Clarke, the MCS Good Fish Guide manager, said: 'It is probable that haddock prices will rise, it is a matter of supply and demand.

The move is due to stock numbers in 2016 being below the recommended level, prompting the need for action to increase the number of fish of breeding age, the society said.

The fish is a popular choice with consumers as it is one of the UK's "big five" seafood species along with cod, tuna, salmon and prawns, and a favourite at the chip shop.

SFF chief executive Bertie Armstrong said: "The MCS has completely misunderstood the position as far as haddock stocks are concerned and should withdraw its utterly misleading comments".

"We have gone to enormous lengths to maintain fishing stocks, including haddock".

The permitted catch of the fish from the North Sea and waters off the west of Scotland has been cut by 47per cent as a result.

"The fishing industry is well used to these sorts of frankly meaningless publications - it's not so long ago that we were told that there were only 100 cod left in the North Sea".

"For haddock that has been the case since 2007, and only past year advice from fisheries scientists at the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES) was for an increase in the catch of 30 per cent".

The new ratings for North Sea and west of Scotland haddock are three and four.

"I'll be choosing MSC labelled Scottish haddock tonight for my fish and chip supper knowing that it's been caught by responsible fishermen with sustainable management that's been checked and monitored by the world's most rigorous scientific test of sustainability".

"A new assessment will be undertaken later this year, when new ICES advice becomes available, and if the health of the fishery has improved as expected, this will be reflected in MCS ratings".

Meanwhile, the MCS has advised people buying American lobster to choose those from fisheries with a Marine Stewardship Council certification - which indicates stronger management to protect stocks and habitat and prevent bycatch.

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