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Send more cod! Desperate chippies seek help from Norway before Russian tariff hikes prices

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Send more cod! Desperate chippies seek help from Norway before tariff on Russian imports pushes prices up

  • British fish and chip shop owners ask Norway for help with rising fish prices
  • Up to 40% of our traditional fish meals come from Russia
  • Industry experts fear a third of UK chippies could close in the coming months

Desperate fish and chip shop owners seek help from Norway amid the rising cost of cod and haddock.

The move comes after warnings that thousands of traditional British takeaways could go out of business due to sharp price increases.

Up to 40 percent of our favorite seafood meals come from Russia, but the government’s plans for an import tariff after the invasion of Ukraine means we have to pay more at the counter.

Cod from waters in Norway, like this one here, could soon be widely served in UK fish and chi shops

Fish prices are rising due to the war in Ukraine, but this is not the only threat to the UK's favorite dish - prices for potatoes and cooking oil are also rising

Fish prices are rising due to the war in Ukraine, but this is not the only threat to the UK’s favorite dish – prices for potatoes and cooking oil are also rising

Andrew Crook, chairman of the National Federation of Fish Friers, will make a passionate plea on behalf of UK chippies in a speech at the annual Frozen At Sea meeting, hosted by the Norwegian Seafood Council, to be held Wednesday in the western port of Alesund.

He said: ‘Most ship owners out there [in Norway] producing head and guts of fish that are then sent for processing elsewhere. I hope I can get them to swap some ships to produce fillets for my industry because we need so many to keep the price under control as much as possible.”

As an example of rising prices, the cost per kilo of Icelandic cod was £7.80 in October 2021 – now about £16.

Crook, who runs the Skippers of Euxton fish and chip restaurant in Lancashire, added: ‘We expect a 35 percent tariff on Russian whitefish, which will drive up the price of all fish. We can’t be so dependent on supplies from one specific region.’

He fears as many as a third of 10,000 fish and chip shops in the UK could close in the next nine months, and he also raised the alarm about the rising cost of cooking oil and potatoes.

The price of Irish dripping beef has doubled in less than a year – it was £1 a kilo in October 2021 and now stands at over £2. While the price of Ukrainian sunflower oil has risen from £1.50 a liter in March to £2.75.

Mr Cook called for government support for the sector and said he hopes to outline the importance of fish and chips in the UK at the Alesund conference because ‘it is so iconic and ingrained in the hearts of the nation’.

He added that the hospitality and tourism sector “needs a long-term strategy that should include a reduced VAT rate”, stressing: “Not every business can be saved – we accept that – but action is needed now to ensure that we get through this in the best possible shape.’

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