Cost of fish and chips set to soar

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Royal visit to Yorkshire - Day Two

The recent storms and flooding look likely to inflict more pain - on the cost of your next plate of fish and chips. Fresh fish prices have taken a battering as many trawlermen have been scuppered by appalling weather.

New research claims wholesale haddock prices have climbed more than 50% with whiting prices up almost 45%. How long will prices stay high?

£20-25 plus

The chips aren't completely down until the bad weather eases. The Grocer claims wholesale haddock prices have climbed 53.8% year-on-year to £1,474 a tonne while whiting is up 44.2% to £1,675.

"Businesses like restaurants and independent fishmongers who use fresh fish will feel the rise but it will even out very quickly as stock levels go back up to normal again," industry body Seafish representative Tom Pickerell told the Mirror.

The price rises though make an increasingly expensive meal - the cost of a fish and chips in many parts of the UK is £20-plus - even harder on the wallet. It's still a perennial national favourite, worth a good £1.2bn annually and has survived many storms and fads.

Some quotas up

Meanwhile the Government claims it has negotiated a freeze on the tally of days fisherman can go to sea, sticking to 2013 quotas. Some quotas have actually increased: 15% higher for monkfish in the Channel and a 5% rise in herring in the Irish sea, plus a 49% hike for hake in all UK waters.

"Many fish stocks," says DEFRA, "are becoming healthier but some have a longer way to go and we have accepted quota cuts where these are necessary. We are also fishing more sustainably but further work can be done to make fishing methods even more sustainable."

High risk

Trawlermen carry risk with the job. Last week an RAF helicopter rescued four fisherman from the Rachel Jayne III, 26 miles off the North East coast, which had got into trouble from a mechanical fault; it later sank.

"This was a well-known Maryport registered prawn fishing boat with an experienced crew," said Mike Puplett, Humber Coastguard Watch Manager. "This evening's incident just goes to show that you should always be prepared for the unexpected."

Fish and chips was the only takeaway food not to be rationed in the Second World War. Now, 250 million fish and chip meals are sold in the UK every year, according to Seafish figures 2012.

The story of Thompson's Dairies

The story of Thompson's Dairies