Brussels has said that more must be done to tackle illegal practices that are removing 100,000 tonnes of Atlantic cod from the Barents Sea every year.
Britain’s major fish supplier, Young’s Bluecrest, has been among fish companies involved in talks with the Norwegian Fisheries Directorate that have generated commitments aimed at curbing the sale of illegal cod from the Barents Sea.
Joe Borg, European Commissioner for Fisheries and Maritime Affairs, told the EU Fisheries Council that stopping illegal fishing, a priority in view of moves towards greater sustainability, would require greater determination by both coastal states outside the EU and member states.
Illegal catches, which are taken from Russian and international waters from a stock managed jointly by Norway and Russia, are difficult to detect. Often this fish is gutted and frozen at sea, landed in commercial ports and taken to China for processing before returning to the EU.
A spokesman for Young’s said that it was vigilant to the risk of illegal cod getting into its supply chain and was keen to ensure that such stocks did not reach British consumers.