Could squid and chips be a taste of things to come in UK?

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Customers eat their takeaway fish and chips outside the Wembley Bay fish and chip shop in west London May 13, 2012. REUTERS/Eddie Keogh

Squid and chips – hardly a household favourite at the moment but a new study suggests traditional cold-water fish like cod and haddock are disappearing from Britain’s warming waters.

A report on fish populations in the North Sea shows rising sea temperatures are leading to an increase in warm-water fish like squid, sardines and anchovies.

“In the long term we will need to adapt our diets,” said Dr. John Pinnegar, who was presenting the findings on Monday at the British Ecological Society’s annual meeting.

“There is a disconnect between the fish we catch and the fish we eat,” he added. “UK consumers enjoy eating quite a limited range of seafood, but in the long term we will need to adapt our diets.

“In 2025 and beyond, we may need to replace cod and other old favourites with warm-water species such as squid, mackerel, sardine and red mullet.”

The report was written by the government-funded Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Acquaculture Science (Cefas).

It noted a dramatic rise in the population of squid over the last 35 years: while in 1984 only 21 percent of Cefas North Sea survey stations found squid, that percentage had risen to 60 percent by 2014.

Meanwhile, cod numbers have fallen, due partly to overfishing. In 2004, cod numbers fell to their lowest known level, which prompted efforts to reduce cod fishing.

Although restrictions had some effect, the increase was slow, which Cefas scientists have attributed to rising North Sea temperatures.

(Reporting by Camilla Hodgson; editing by Stephen Addison)