Struggling fish and chip shops to ask Norway for more fish to keep prices under control

There are fears one third of UK fish and chip shops could shut as costs surge. Credit: PA Images

British chip shops will turn to Scandinavia for help to keep prices “as under control as possible” amid surging costs.

Rising energy bills and increased costs of fish, potatoes and cooking oil due to Russia's war in Ukraine means the price of fish and chips has gone up.

Andrew Crook, president of the National Federation of Fish Friers, will ask for help on behalf of the industry at the Frozen At Sea gathering in Alesund, Norway, on Wednesday.

“Most vessel owners in Norway produce headed and gutted fish that is then sent to be processed elsewhere,” Mr Crook said.

“I am hoping that I can get them to switch some vessels to produce fillets for my industry, as we need as many as we can get to help keep the price as under control as possible.”

He added the industry expects a tariff of 35% on Russian white fish, which will force the price of all fish up.

"We cannot be so reliant on supplies from one specific region," he added.

Andrew Crook, president of the National Federation of Fish Friers. Credit: ITV News

The cost per kilo of Icelandic cod has jumped from £7.80 in October to £16, while potato costs have risen by 30%, the Daily Mirror reported.

Mr Crook, who runs the Skippers of Euxton restaurant in Chorley, Lancashire, also wants the Treasury to cut VAT levels to help the struggling industry.

“Not every business can be saved but action is needed now to ensure we get through this in the best shape possible," he said.

He added a third of fish and chip shops could be forced to close as a result of the rising costs, a warning he first made in March after the war began.

“White fish comes from Russia, because they are a very big fishing nation in the Barents Sea,” he said at the time.

“So if we lose that, the price of fish will go significantly higher and this is on top of the current record prices we are seeing. If that happens, we are in real dire straits.”

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The issue was raised in the Commons on March 3 by Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen, who said the owner of an “award-winning” fish and chip shop in his constituency told him “the business outlook has never been more volatile, with record price rises for fish, batter, fat, wrapping paper and of course, energy."

“Many fish and chip shops are worried about whether they are actually going to survive, so, could we have a statement from the government about what action the government is going to take to ensure they protect the future of our fish and chip shops, a great part of British life?”

Commons Leader Mark Spencer jokingly told MPs “I declare an interest in fish and chips”, before adding: “Takeaways are a huge part of the night-time economy. Those businesses are actually a service they provide to our community and they should be supported.

“I wish not only his fish and chip shop well, but all fish and chip shops all around the country.”

Sanctions imposed on Russia at the end of March meant price rises across the global seafood industry.

Russia is one of the largest producers of seafood in the world, and was the fifth-largest producer of wild-caught fish, according to a 2020 report by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations.