Kit Davies
Britain's major fish suppliers have stressed that they will in the main be unaffected by the closure of EU waters.
The vast majority of supermarket supplies for both fresh and processed have for some years been sourced from other seas.
The European Commission is set to impose a moratorium on cod, haddock and whiting fishing in the North Sea, Irish Sea and west of Scotland in the light of the collapse of EU fish stocks. There could also be substantial reductions for plaice and nephrops.
This month and next crucial decisions will be made by Brussels as a new Common Fisheries Policy is decided upon.
Industry sources have noted that while bigger processors could send their boats further afield, the UK's smaller near-water operators would be faced with closure. Hardest hit would be smaller ports both in the UK and Ireland, with consequent impact on public opinion.
Ivan Jaines-White, commercial director of major supplier Simpson Seafish, warned: "In the longer term, depending on the degree of restriction, pressure could be placed on those stocks which are available elsewhere."
Mike Parker, deputy chief executive of Young's Bluecrest, said: "We take a global view on fish stocks. This has meant for a long time ­ in common with most EU countries ­ we have met the majority of demand for white fish from waters where stocks are in better shape, such as Iceland, Norway and Russia.Only 20% of cod used in the EU is sourced from the EU."
The EU ban would give a massive boost to the development of aquaculture, particularly that of cod, in Scotland. And the work of the Marine Stewardship Council is on course for a higher profile.