Are fish and chips becoming too expensive a delicacy?

Tuesday, January 15th, 2008

A fascinating glimpse this morning of what Americans make of one of our national dishes – and our national obsession with it.

This article in the New York Times asks whether Europe’s appetite for seafood – including the British craving for white fish – is fuelling an illegal trade in the commodity as well as causing an environmental disaster:

Empty seas: Europe’s appetite for seafood propels illegal trade

If cost is an indication, fish are poised to become Europe’s most precious contraband. Prices have doubled and tripled in response to surging demand, scarcity and recent fishing quotas imposed by the European Union in a desperate effort to save native species. In London, a kilogram of lowly cod, the traditional ingredient of fish and chips, now costs up to £30, or close to $60, up from £6 four years ago.

‘Fish and chips used to be a poor man’s treat, but with the prices, it’s becoming a delicacy,’ said Mark Morris, a fishmonger for 20 years in London’s enormous Billingsgate market.

On a wintry day at 5 a.m. in Billingsgate last month, as wholesalers unpacked fresh fish from all over the world, the vast international trade that feeds Europe’s appetite was readily apparent, even if the origins of each fillet and steak were not.

Less than 24 hours before, some of these fish were passing through Las Palmas in the Canary Islands, a port with five inspectors to evaluate 360,000 tons of perishable fish that must move rapidly through each year. The Canaries, a Spanish archipelago off the coast of Morocco, have become the favored landing point of illegal fish as well as people. Read full article here…

What do you think about this issue? If you’ve an opinion on it, then leave a comment and start a discussion.

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