Fish and chips is a British food institution. But it seems that the traditional cod and chips could now be under threat. According to scientists, fish and chips may disappear from menus altogether to be replaced by squid and chips.

Researchers say that because the sea is warming around the UK, cold water fish such as cod and haddock will be gradually replaced by those which thrive in warmer water, including squid, raising the suggestion that we may soon be munching on calamari and fries instead.

Boffins from the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefs) say diets will have to adapt so that cod could be replaced with warm water fish like sardines and squid, which are usually associated with warmer climates.

Seafood

Dr John Pinnegar said that while Brits tended to eat a rather limited variety of seafood, they may be forced to broaded their horizons from 2025 onwards. He explained: “We may need to replace cod and other old favourites with warm-water species such as squid, mackerel, sardine and red mullet.”

He said that warmer seas meant that cod and haddock were naturally migrating further north to the colder waters they prefer. In their place, species usually found in the Mediterranean are moving into British waters.

His comments are backed by Cefas evidence, which found squid present in a fifth of its survey stations in the North Sea 32 years ago. In 2014, when the latest figures are for, that figure had risen to three in every five. Meanwhile, cod numbers of dropping because of a combination of global warming and over fishing. A staggering 90 per cent of UK cod vanished from the Seventies to 2004 and stocks are recovering very slowly. He said that small scale fishery businesses concentrating now on warm water species were likely to expand in coming years.