Fish Suppers Undergo Sea Change In UK

First Posted: Dec 15, 2016 05:09 AM EST

Move over fish, squids are here to stay and occupy pride of place among British suppers. It looks like climate change has benefited squids immensely.

The Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas) has been recording and tracking North Sea fish populations for close to 10 decades. Sea water temperatures in the United Kingdom have witnessed an upward trend, according to government scientists. This means well for the fish that thrive in warmer waters, and it indicates a change in the British palate.

Fisheries data have revealed that fish and squids, which prosper and multiply in warmer temperatures, are now increasing in number near the North Sea. At the same time, there seem to be fewer cod in the British waters as they seem to be changing direction and are heading north.

Statistics also reveals that squid catch is a sizeable 60 percent at survey stations in the North Sea. This seems to have grown by 40 percent compared to the squid catch in 1980s.

Mr. John Pinnegar spearheading a study on trends in stocks at the British Ecological Society's annual meeting in Liverpool said that models for 2025 show that sea water temperatures have changed marine life. The rising sea water temperatures have given rise to newer species of marine life getting caught by the fishing boats.

Speaking to BBC News, Mr.Pinnegar said, "Twenty or 30 years ago we hardly saw squid in our surveys. A lot of the things we see increasing in abundance around the UK are marine animals that would probably originally [be] thought of as being Mediterranean or characteristic of the Bay of Biscay, or around Portugal or Spain. They are now increasing in UK waters because the waters are getting more conducive for those sorts of species, whereas other species are shifting the centre of their distribution towards the north of the UK."

The species that appear to be increasing are anchovies, red mullet, squids and sardines, Wakefield Express reports. Climate change appears to be benefiting squids, and they have become the latest fishing targets. Availability of different kinds of fish especially squids may well change the traditional British meal.

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