Norwegian politician Cecilie Myrseth, who presented the main award to the winning chippy, tried her hand at making British-style fish and chips.

Norwegian politician Cecilie Myrseth, who presented the main award to the winning chippy, tried her hand at making British-style fish and chips.

Photo: NFD

British fish and chips need more from Norway, says Minister

"Brits are not getting enough Norwegian fish for fish & chips," said Norway's Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, Cecilie Myrseth, after she presented the 2024 award for the UK's best fish and chips.

The UK's national favourite, fish & chips, enjoyed some time in the spotlight last week, as the National Fish & Chip Awards 2024 recognised the top restaurants and takeaways making the famous British dish.

And with Norwegian cod and haddock providing around 25% of the fish used in the UK's favourite dish, Norway's Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Cecilie Myrseth was keen to get in on the action.

Myrseth presented the main award of the evening to small family business Ship Deck, which took first place and won the category of "Best Take-Away."

"Those who make fish & chips are mostly small, family-run businesses. They are passionate about delivering the best products to their customers and demand taste, consistency, and sustainability," Myrseth said.

"And they do not get enough cod and haddock from Norway," she added.

<div class="paragraphs"><p>Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Cecilie Myrseth (second from left) presented the main award.</p></div>

Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Cecilie Myrseth (second from left) presented the main award.

Photo: National Fish and Chips Awards.

Aim for more Norwegian cod at British "chippies"

British fish and chips are big business for Norway.

According to figures supplied by the Norwegian Seafood Council, Britons eat more than 170 million meals of fish & chips each year, and 25% of this fish is supplied by Norway.

The United Kingdom is also the largest single market for Norwegian haddock by value, and a significant market for Norwegian cod. In 2023, Norway delivered nearly 15,000 tonnes of cod to the United Kingdom and just over 17,000 tonnes of haddock, based on direct exports.

"The United Kingdom is one of the largest and most important markets for Norwegian seafood, especially for white fish," Myrseth said.

"In recent years, there have been several challenges around the world, with Brexit, pandemics, and war affecting international trade. Both the authorities and industry players have worked to preserve and strengthen the close cooperation and trade relations with the United Kingdom," she added.

<div class="paragraphs"><p>This year's winners of the UK's best fish and chips award are Ship Deck, from Caerphilly in Wales.</p></div>

This year's winners of the UK's best fish and chips award are Ship Deck, from Caerphilly in Wales.

Photo: National Fish & Chips Awards.

Winners to visit Norway for first-hand experience of fishing industry

This year's winners are being invited to Ålesund to learn more about the origin of the raw material from Norway, the Minister said.

"Here, they will get updated knowledge about our strictly regulated fishing, sustainable management, and Norwegian raw materials. When they return to the United Kingdom, they can share the knowledge with their colleagues and customers and confidently know that they are selling sustainable seafood," Myrseth said.

According to the Norwegian Seafood Council, the two-day study trip will take fish & chip shop teams on "an unforgettable exploration of the Norwegian fishing industry, experiencing the cold, clear waters aboard the state-of-the-art longliner and Danish seine vessel, Østerfjord, to learn more about environmental and sustainable practices that ensure UK fish and chip shops are supplied with the freshest, highest quality produce."

The winners will also meet leading industry authorities and stakeholders to find out how fish stocks are sustained, as well as learning about frozen-at-sea white fish.

Challenging times for British fish and chips sector

Awards organiser and President of the National Federation of Fish Friers Andrew Crook said he and his colleagues were "bursting with pride for our winners and other contenders", but noted that British fish and chips restaurants have been under pressure in recent years.

“It’s no secret that the sector has been hit hard by economic hardship, yet we have seen firsthand how chippies up and down the country, and overseas, are thinking fast on their feet to defy the odds without compromising on ethical standpoints, quality and, most importantly, great tasting fish and chips," Crook said.

About the UK National Fish & Chip Awards

The National Fish & Chip Awards is organized by the UK's National Federation of Fish Friers, aiming to "celebrate the British national dish and the people behind it". The award ceremony was held for the 36th time on Wednesday, February 28, with the Norwegian Seafood Council's "Seafood from Norway" brand as the main sponsor.

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