Have our fish had their chips?

The problem is so bad that the World Wildlife Fund now classes cod as an endangered species, and fears for the future of haddock.

Larger vessels from Spain, Denmark and Belgium which fish off the British coast are making things worse, the environmental group said.

WWF fisheries specialist Dr Sarah Jones said: ‘We would now class cod as endangered.

The fishermen in the Irish Sea simply can’t find any, and landings are down 28 per cent already this year in the North Sea.

‘Other countries have got large fishing fleets operating off our coasts.

Obviously, bigger vessels cause a lot more damage. Thanks to an appalling mess with the legislation, the Russians have 20 factory-style trawler ships off the Hebrides.


‘They are exploiting the traditional haddock grounds.

The problem is Europe-wide and we need integrated international legislation.’ Fish and chips have seen off competition from pizzas, Chinese and Indian food to retain the title of Britain’s favourite takeaway meal.

More than 300million portions are served each year at 8,500 chip shops nationwide.

But the price of British cod has soared in recent months to more than [pounds sterling]3 per pound – the same as rump steak – partly because of dwindling stocks.

Cod is now flown in from Norway, Iceland and the Faroe islands. Continue reading

Ugly catch could snap attractive profits for fisheries

The willingness of consumers to tuck into a meal of dogfish or hagfish could determine how many fishery workers stay on the job in tough times.

Throughout the history of the Atlantic fishery, the tough-skinned dogfish and the repulsive-looking hagfish (also known as the slime eel) have been disdained by most fishermen, who sought out the easier-to-handle and more profitable pollock, haddock and northern cod.

But as the numbers of these sought-after groundfish decreases and federal quota cuts force boats and fish plants to sit idle, Atlantic fishermen are taking a new interest in diving for sea urchins, dragging for sea cucumbers, trapping hagfish or finding a new way to skin a dogfish.


Last year, three fishermen in southwestern Nova Scotia trapped the slimy hagfish and Cape Sable Fish Packers shipped the skins to South Korea, where they were processed into fine leather purses. This year, 10 fishermen are anxious to get in on the eel action, and the fish plant’s 60 workers are eager for the extra work.

In 1989, 20 fishermen in the Digby area of Nova Scotia dove for spiky sea urchins; this year, as many as 50 are asking the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans for licences to comb the depths. The roe and gonads from the sea urchin are considered a delicacy in Japan, and some boat owners are looking at using vacuum pumps to suck up the urchins this summer. Continue reading

Fish and chips shop dream comes true for English pair

Breathless and exuberant, Barry and Dawn Newsum touched down at Lester B. Pearson International Airport with their dog, Candy, to start their new life in Canada.

It was the climax of a three-year saga in which the Canadian Government had refused them entry to run a fish and chips shop they had purchased in Fergus, Ont., a purchase that the Foreign Investment Review Agency had approved more than a year ago.

Fish and Chip Bar on Brighton Pier

The couple tried to describe their relief at finally setting foot on Canadian soil. “I don’t believe it yet,” said Mrs. Newsum, 22. “I can’t wait to see my brother and sisters, but seeing Mom and Dad, that’s the best part.” Under the Liberal Government, immigration officials had said Mr. Newsum, who ran a muffler repair shop in Nottinghamshire, and Mrs. Newsum, a college-trained secretary, did not have what it takes to run a fish and chips shop. Continue reading

A kingdom united by the deep fryer

J. Alfred Prufrock, that self-effacing nonhero – that ordinary man – of T.S. Eliot’s poem, may have “measured out his life with coffee spoons,” but mine has been measured out with what the Scots rather cozily call “fish suppers” or the English (who invented them) call “fish and chips.”

Stretches of a life can be punctuated by surprisingly small, even ordinary moments. Why not fish-and-chip moments? Toothsome white fish in crispy, delectable batter and chunky rectangular fingers of potato, all deep-fried for exactly the right amount of time. The rarity of the commonplace.


Fish and chips recall for me times when I was a student in Cambridge; a teacher in Hertfordshire; on holiday at the seaside. My decade in Yorkshire, painting and writing, when I might dine in the remote village of Dent, high in the Dales, or low down in Settle, the busy town five miles’ drive from the farmhouse in my rattling Ford Transit.

Today in Glasgow, we are spoiled for choices of fish-and-chip shops. There must be dozens in easy striking distance, though not all at the peak when it comes to quality. Lately, we have been carrying out an individualized survey to discover which is best. Mr V’s at the foot of Battlefield Road is running current favorite.

But good as some fish-and-chippy experiences continue to be – the finest often served up in the most grotty-looking establishments – nothing rivals the fish and chips of my early childhood.

The fish-and-chip shop some way up Park Road featured large. My older brother, whose skill at badgering the grown-ups was of notable prowess, would campaign persistently for threepenny-worth of chips. Dad would generally give in gracefully and provide the cash. Continue reading

The wedding party, a [pounds sterling]35bn guest list and a menu of fish and 1chips

IT WAS one of the most lavish parties London has seen for years and the final bill is expected to run into millions of pounds.

But when it came to the menu the 600 guests had something rather more down-to-earth – burgers and fish and chips.

Lord Paul, 74, the Indian-born Labour peer and chairman of the Caparo steel company, invited the political establishment to a party to celebrate the wedding of his youngest son Angad, 37, to media lawyer Michelle Bonn.


The 600 guests included Gordon Brown and his wife Sarah, Baroness Amos, Robin Cook, Lord Lawson, Lord Howe and Lord Bragg.

Also present were Lord Paul’s twin sons Ambar and Akash, 47, his daughter Anjali, 45, and his six grandchildren.

The reception was yesterday at Lancaster House, a palace normally used for government banquets. It was said to be the most lavish party Lord Paul had given since he arrived in Britain in 1966, and also celebrated the birthday of his wife, Aruna. Continue reading