Conran takes cod off menu after stocks dwindle

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The Independent Online

Cod has been removed from the menu of all 21 Conran restaurants after recent publicity about the ever-dwindling stocks in the North Sea.

Cod has been removed from the menu of all 21 Conran restaurants after recent publicity about the ever-dwindling stocks in the North Sea.

A spokesman for the chain said yesterday that once the existing fish had been used up, it would no longer feature in any of Sir Terence's outlets despite the fact that it was one of the most popular dishes. "All the emphasis to date has been placed on catching cod, little or none on who sells and eats it," said David Loewi, the managing director of the group. "We believe this is a conservation issue for consumers as well as fishermen and fish suppliers, and the only way we can try and do something to help is by taking a stand.

"We hope that by doing so we can start making people think twice before they buy a piece of cod, whether they do so in a restaurant, a fish and chip takeaway or in a packet of fishfingers."

The group's decision came after the announcement of plans to ban cod fishing from parts of the North Sea amid fears that the humble fish supper could soon become a luxury rather than a fast food staple.

Although stocks have been falling for a number of years, cod is still the most popular order in Britain's 8,500 fish and chip shops. And for that reason other fish restaurants seemed reluctant to ban cod from their establishments yesterday.

Dean Peck, the head chef at Livebait in Covent Garden, London, said he was aware of the over-fishing problem and had taken cod off the menu for one day but was forced to reinstate by outraged customers. "We sell around 150 portions of cod and chips a week, and in the one day we took it off we had about 30 requests for it so we had to put it back," he said.

Tony Allen, the chairman of BGR, owner of the Fish! chain of restaurants and suppliers to 400 eateries in the south, including The Caprice, The Ivy and the Conran Group, said all its fish was bought from sustainable fisheries in Iceland. "We will not serve cod from the North Sea but I do feel that the overfishing has not been done by us but by the Spanish, French and Italians who have raped our waters," he said.

Cod was first served in the 1830s when it was not uncommon to land a fish weighing 200lb and measuring six feet. Nowadays the catch is only a sixth of what it was 20 years ago and the fish are much smaller.

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