Sir; The EU decision in December to raise the North Sea cod quota by 11% was seen by the fisheries sector as a vindication of their observation that cod stocks are improving, while it was heralded as the death knell for North Sea cod by environmentalists. In the meantime, shoppers continue to be bombarded by conflicting information about the sustainability of seafood. At 20.7 kg per capita, annual seafood consumption in the UK is above global average but well below some of our Scandinavian and continental cousins. The Food Standards Agency advises us each to eat two portions of fish per week, a recommendation which, if followed, would double our average seafood consumption. This advice merely adds to the dilemma of contrary information on offer. We import nearly 90% of the cod we consume. Responsible supermarkets and seafood brand owners have shunned North Sea cod in favour of the fisheries of Iceland, Norway and Alaska, while European fisheries remain fraught with controversy over their diminished status. From the mid-Victorian era to the 'cod wars' of the 1970s, UK ports such as Great Grimsby were the busiest fishing ports in the world, with bumper hauls of cod from northerly fishing grounds. The same waters, in fact, now managed by Iceland and Norway, still provide us with the majority of the cod we eat today. Some mourn the loss of British rights of access to these waters. Yet, with cod stocks decimated in UK waters in the Irish Sea, the north-west of Scotland and the North Sea, we have to wonder if it wasn't in fact the saviour of cod. Now, with cod apparently making a comeback in the North Sea and similar early signs of stock revival in other once-over-exploited fisheries, the Common Fisheries Policy struggles to be all things to all people and oversee the green shoots of recovery while maintaining economic stability in the catching sector. The future of cod remains hotly disputed. Yet, while simple black-and-white arguments may strike a chord with the public, the view from the centre ground looks less clear and more complex. The large northerly stocks of cod will continue to support the majority of our consumption. If properly managed, there is yet hope for European cod populations - and for cod 'n' chips to remain on the menu for some years to come. WWF slates EU deal, p54