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Published - 06/12/2011

Falmouth fryer hails cod free week as a runaway success 

Confrimed cod eaters take the plunge and try sustainable alternatives

The owner of Falmouth fish and chip shop, Harbour Lights, says his first cod free week has been a real success, with footfall up and customers happy to try alternative partners to chips.

Pete Fraser had warned customers that he was taking cod off the menu for a  week in November; " I expalined that we are not anti-cod as there are some healthy sized stocks of the fish still in the oceans. Ours normally originates from way up north in the Barents or Norwegian Seas. It is Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified and of the highest quality. The problem is: although it may be plentiful today, if it continues to be the most popular fish eaten as "fish and chips" in the UK then eventually  those stocks will also come under considerable pressure."

Harbour Lights has long strived to ensure it's offering customers the best sustainable fish choices. The chippy was a finalist in the MCS supported Good Catch Sustainability Award at the National fish and chip awards and is a finalist again this year. Pete certainly knows his fish; "There are some very tasty alternatives to cod. We are recommending MSC hake as first choice - a  delicious white fleshed fish. There's haddock, pollock or whiting too. We offered customers a free sample to make sure they were going to like what we served up on top of their chips."

Pete said that sales were up 30% on the same week last year, with new customers coming to support the initiative. MSC hake was the most popoular alternative follwed by Marine Conservation Society green rated haddock and pollock.

Pete said he hopes other chippies follow his lead: " I was so pleasantly surprised by how dear the topic of the sustainability of fish was to our customers' hearts. It did take a few weeks to pluck up courage after we first came up with the idea, but I am so pleased we ran with our Cod Free Week."

Marine Conservation Society, Fisheries Officer, David Parker, said he's delighted the week went well: "This sort of innovative way of getting people to think about sustainablity is just the sort of thing we'd like to see more of. Pete's customers were treated to mackerel, haddock and hake and his customer survey showed that they'd willingly try it again. As Pete says many of his customers understand the need to choose sustainable fish and the comments he recieved were really encouraging. Well done!"

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