Anarchy in the UK: Climate Change May Spark the End of Fish and Chips

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By Charlotte Willis | 7:48 am, December 14, 2016

Fancy some squid and chips?

It doesn’t have quite the same ring to it as Britain’s beloved national dish of fish and chips, but the household favorite could soon be replaced by Mediterranean flavors such as squid due to global warming.

According to new research, cold-water fish like cod and haddock traditionally used in the quintessential meal are disappearing from British waters as the seas warm up.

A report on fish populations in the North Sea, presented on Monday at the British Ecological Society’s annual meeting, shows cod and haddock populations are shifting northward, forcing Britain to import the fish it consumes the most from places such as Iceland and Norway.

Cod, a particular favorite among Brits, has been struggling to make a comeback after decades of overfishing.

The cold-water fish are being replaced with squid, anchovies, sardines and red mullet — species that thrive in warmer waters.

“In the long term we will need to adapt our diets,” said John Pinnegar, who was presenting the findings.

“There is a disconnect between the fish we catch and the fish we eat,” he added. “UK consumers enjoy eating quite a limited range of seafood, but in the long term we will need to adapt.

“In 2025 and beyond, we may need to replace cod and other old favorites with warm-water species such as squid, mackerel, sardine and red mullet.”

The research on changing fish populations in the North Sea comes from the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science, a British government research agency.

It has been studying North Sea fish populations for more than 100 years and said that the number of squid in the region has risen sharply over the past three decades, the Washington Post reports.

In 1984, the lab found squid at 20 per cent of its 76 survey stations in the North Sea — by 2014, that figure was 60 per cent.

Meanwhile, the number of cod in British waters has plummeted, with almost 90 per cent disappearing between 1971 and 2004. Last year there were just 295,000 tonnes of cod in the North Sea compared to 1.3 million tonnes in 1971.

So the big question is, could Brits learn to love squid and fish?

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