Young’s: EU played 'significant role' in British cod stocks recovery

'EU measures on boundaries limits and investment led to the recovery of the fishery,' company exec tells IntraFish. 

The UK’s largest seafood supplier, Young’s Seafood, said the European Union played a significant role in the recovery of the North Sea cod fishery.

The recovery process, which entailed changes in transparency policies, fishing regulations, and also saw a number of vessels being terminated in order to relieve pressure, was supported by the EU’s efforts to ensure the fish was caught sustainably.

In particular, the EU “ensured all parties adhered to international boundaries, invested in fishing gear to help catch less fish,” David Parker, marine biologist and head of CSR at Young’s, told IntraFish.

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In addition, the EU’s tighter quotas and policies aimed at “cutting back on cod hotspots,” were also factors contributing to the recovery of the fishery, he said. 

The stock was declared as collapsed only a decade ago.

The UK’s processor praised parties involved in the recovery process, and is calling other big brands to jump up on the sustainability call in a "meaningful way.

"Recovering the stocks has taken a tremendous amount of work by the fishermen, the government, NGOs, retailers and processors," Parker said. 

"We would absolutely like to see more big brands get involved in a meaningful way in helping to promote sustainable eating habits."

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Although he did not want to comment on how the fishery will be managed after Brexit, Parker said fishermen are committed to operate in a sustainable way. 

So far, the brand is not introducing the MSC North Sea cod to its brand portfolio, Bill Showalter, CEO of Young's told IntraFish.

“We’re proud to be processing this product for a number of our customers,” said Showalter.

The company currently features the MSC stamp on a number of products including Alaska pollock fish fingers, Alaska pollock fishcakes, cape hake fillets, Alaska pollock nuggets, Alaska pollock and pink salmon fish pie mix, hoki fillets, Greenland shrimp and Scottish kipper fillets.

“Whilst there are no immediate plans to introduce MSC North Sea cod to our brand portfolio, Young’s is constantly reviewing its own lines and actively exploring opportunities for the future,” Showalter said.

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