Tonks says that the supply chain has become ‘incredibly difficult to manage’ following the invasion of Ukraine with rising important tariffs brought about by sanctions pushing up the price of whitefish caught by Russian boats.
This has in turn drive up the price of whitefish from non-Russian fisheries including Norway, where Rockfish currently sources its MSC-certified cod.
Tonks stresses that the decision is not permanent and is a way to protect customers from having to ‘overpay due to external forces’ and says his nine-strong South West-centric group ‘looks forward’ to re-introducing MSC-certified cod to his menus when ‘the time is right’.
“We know that in parts of Britain, fish and chips means cod and chips. At the moment because of global supply issues resulting in significant cost implications for our customers, we have sat down as a team and made the decision to make this the summer of British fish,” he continues.
“This is a brilliant time for British fishing and now is our chance to celebrate lesser consumed but excellent British fish such as hake, plaice, gurnard and MSC Haddock.”
Last month it was reported that up to a third of UK fish and chip shops could close due to the UK being so reliant on fish from Russia and sunflower oil from Ukraine.
Prior to the invasion up to 40% of the UK's cod and haddock is sourced from Russia but the current situation is making supplies both scarcer and more expensive.
A spokesperson for Norwegian Seafood Council says that the Norwegian seafood industry will "continue to explore what possibilities there are to support our British partners with supply of sustainable cod and haddock".
"For many years, Norway has been at the forefront when it comes to maintaining and regulating sustainable fisheries. By choosing Seafood from Norway, operators can be confident that they really are serving their customers the best quality seafood," they continue.