The Bay Fish & Chips in Stonehaven has become the first fish and chip shop to add MSC certified North Sea cod to the menu.
Owner Calum Richardson took the delivery at around lunchtime today, just hours after it was announced that the fishery had passed the rigorous MSC assessment
The consignment of North Sea cod was caught by The Budding Rose, landed at Peterhead fish market and sent straight to Coupers Seafood in Aberdeen for filleting and portioning before making the 13 mile journey south to Stonehaven.
The 4-5oz North Sea cod fillets are on the menu priced at £6.00 and also feature in the shop’s seafood platter alongside MSC haddock and hake.
The move marks a U-turn by the chippy, which took North Sea cod off the menu several years ago when its sustainability status came into question.
Calum, whose shop uses only sustainably sourced fish and was the first chippy to gain MSC Chain of Custody to sell MSC haddock, explains: “Although haddock is our biggest seller, I’m in a high tourist area so I do get regular requests for cod. But a number of years ago I refused to sell it as it just wasn’t sustainable. It was a difficult one for me as I wanted to support the local fishermen but I had to also stand by my principles.
"The last few years, when I realised North Sea cod was en route to being MSC certified and that the MCS had changed its rating, I added a little bit to my specials board. Although it will always remain on the specials board, I can now put it on with 100% confidence that it is sustainably sourced.”
He adds: “Overall the certification of North Sea cod is really good for the industry, especially the fishing industry as it's had so much negativity over cod. This cements the fact that cod, as well as haddock, hake and coley, is in abundance in UK waters and it shows that people are looking after stocks for the future.”
With 15 portions sold already today, Calum says the MSC logo is well-recognised by his customers now, adding: “I’ve been serving MSC fish for a long time, we have videos playing in the shop and stickers on our boxes so we’ve been drip-feeding the sustainability message to our customers for years. It's something they are used to seeing and understand."