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North Sea cod certified sustainable after stocks recover

19th Jul 17 4:17 pm

Cod can now be eaten with a ‘clear conscious’

For over a decade North Sea cod stocks were under threat but now the popular fish can be eaten with a ‘clear conscience.’

The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) has certified that the cod caught by the approved Scottish and English boats can now be sold with a ‘blue tick’ label that indicates it is ‘sustainable and fully traceable’.

The fish came under threat when cod stocks in the North Sea, that once peaked at 270,000 tonnes in the 1970s, plummeted by 85 per cent to just 44,000 tonnes in 2006.

After the near collapse the industry agreed to implement a ‘Cod Recovery Plan” to help regenerate stocks that included; trailing new nets, closed large spawning areas to fishing and put CCTV on boats to monitor catches.

The MSC said the announcement marks a ‘momentous achievement for the industry.’

Toby Middleton, MSC Programme Director, North East Atlantic said: “This is a huge accomplishment and the perfect example of what the MSC aims to achieve. Thanks to a collaborative, cross-industry effort, one of our most iconic fish has been brought back from the brink.”

Mike Park, Chairman of the Scottish Fisheries Sustainable Accreditation Group said: “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.”

Cod is one of the most popular fish in the UK, with nearly 70,000 tonnes consumed each year, but according to YouGov survey carried out for the MSC there was confusion over whether it was sustainable or not.

1 in 3 UK adults admitted that they didn’t know if cod is sustainable or not, and whether they should (or should not) be eating it.

Middleton added: “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.

 “By choosing fish with that label, you will be helping to protect stocks long into the future.”

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