LOW levels of North Sea cod mean stocks are in danger of collapse, say scientists.
As a result the fish-and-chips favourite is to lose its sustainability certificate.
The Marine Stewardship Council’s “blue tick” label — which many consumers rely on — was awarded only in 2017 when stocks hit 152,207 tonnes, the highest since 1982.
Stocks were forecast to be 180,990 tonnes last year. But advice from the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea shows estimates of just 81,224 tonnes this year.
That is below the “safe biological level”.
The MSC’s Erin Priddle said: “The decline is a worrying development, with the latest stock models suggesting the fishery has not recovered as well as previously thought.”
Industry measures to protect stocks have included closing spawning areas to trawlers and trialling new nets.
Experts say the decline could be due to warming waters driven by climate change and fewer young cod reaching adulthood.
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Brits consume 115,000 tonnes of cod a year, with 94 per cent of it imported.
Thirty-seven per cent of the total carries the blue tick, including cod from Iceland, Norway and Russia.
North Sea cod’s sustainability certificate will be suspended on October 24.
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