The British chippy: Under attack from Putin

Are the UK's fish supplies under threat?

Fish and chips. Credit: Pixelbliss/

Could Britain’s beloved fish and chip shops face a threat? In a bold move, Vladimir Putin has nullified a decades-old treaty with the UK, challenging the supply of Russian cod to British waters.

The decision which was announced recently, ends a partnership that was drawn up in 1956 under Nikita Khruschev’s leadership.

It permitted UK fishermen to harvest cod and haddock from the Barents Sea, crucial ingredients for the iconic British favourite.

Diplomatic tensions rise

Russia’s parliamentary speaker Vyacheslav Volodin accused the British of consuming Russian fish unethically for 68 years. ‘They announced sanctions against us, but they themselves make 40 per cent of their diet, their fish menu, from our cod.

‘Now let them lose weight, get smarter. Because it is cod and other species of fish, including haddock, that form 40 per cent of their diet. And it’s one of their favourite dishes,’ Volodin added.

According to him, a British ship netted 556,000 tonnes of these fish in Russian territories last year, but according to Andrew Crook from the National Federation of Fish Friers (NFFF), the UK stopped fishing there in the 1960s.

UK’s response and industry insight

However, the UK government downplays the impact of this withdrawal. ‘UK vessels do not fish in these Russian waters so this would have no material impact on our fish supplies, including cod or haddock.

‘The UK has not received any official notification from the Russian Federation on this matter. Russia’s continued unilateral withdrawal from a number of international cooperation treaties is symptomatic of its self-inflicted isolation on the world stage as a result of its illegal invasion of Ukraine,’ a UK Government spokesperson stated.

Echoing government sentiments, NFFF President Andrew Crook regarded the move as a symbolic gesture by Russia, speaking to The Sun he said: ‘This was just a bit of an attempt by the Russians to look as though they were responding to the sanctions imposed on them by the British Government.

‘The move is an act of vengeance for sanctions imposed by Western countries, including the UK, for the ongoing war in Ukraine,’ Crook explained.

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Written by

John Ensor

Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina. He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.


    • Mark

      23 February 2024 • 10:38


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