Record prices at Grimsby Fish Market as cost of fish and chips set to rise 'at least 10 per cent'

Imports of cod and haddock have fetched record prices at one of the country’s most important markets, with a knock-on impact in the supply chain, including the cost of fish and chips.

The Humber has the country’s largest concentration of fish processors, with fish and chip shop staples, cod and haddock, delivered to Grimsby Fish Market fresh in containers from Norway and Iceland.

Chief executive Martyn Boyers said because of a lack of supply, prices at the auction had “rocketed” in recent weeks. He expects prices to remain high for another week or two before dropping back, and blames it on a combination of bad weather and Icelandic boats targeting different species for the German market.

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Mr Boyers said: “(There’s been) a switch in Iceland from fishing for cod and haddock for us, to fishing for redfish and saithe for the German seasonal market. People forget you can’t fish in bad weather.”

The cost of fish and chips is set to rise, says trade body the National Federation of Fish Friers Credit: Yui Mok/PA Wire

Prices shift constantly, but have gone as high as £6.50 a kilo for cod and £5.50 for haddock, against an average of £3 for cod and £3.50 for haddock. No local boats land whitefish into Scarborough and Whitby these days.

The National Federation of Fish Friers (NFFF) says they expect the price of fish and chips to go up “10 per cent at least” with costs of everything from staff, through energy bills, to the fish itself, going up. President Andrew Crook, said fish and chip shops in Yorkshire historically sell haddock and some are struggling to source it and “if they do they are paying a lot for it”.

He said it was just one of the pressures, with some members facing hikes of 500 to 700 per cent in their fuel bills after suppliers went bust.

Staff shortages and pay is also a problem and he’s also worried some business will be caught out when VAT returns to the standard rate of 20 per cent in April.

The Royal Docks at Grimsby: Grimsby Fish Market is recognised as being one of the most important fish markets in Europe Photo by Bethany Clarke/Getty Images

He said: “The cost of fish is up across the board, it’s affecting everybody - the cost of everything is up. Some shops are struggling to get hold of haddock and if they do they are paying a lot for it. We try to absorb as much as we can but everything is changing.”

Shaun Wood, managing director of Scarborough fish merchants TG Wood, said since Brexit there’d been issues with quotas and access to fishing grounds - one example being Hull’s last distant water trawler Kirkella, which remains shut out of Norwegian waters.

His company is reliant on imports from Norway, Iceland and Denmark. “All that fish Kirkella was selling has stopped,” he said. “I can’t see any sign of prices coming down because no one has any stock.”

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Meanwhile Jason Paget, who runs Grimsby Fresh Fish, which delivers fish throughout the Midlands from the back of his van, was unable to stock up any of his 300 customers last Friday. Mr Paget said prices had “pretty much doubled”, particularly for cod, with haddock not far off.

He said: “(The prices have been) too much to pass onto customers - with fuel prices I’d have probably lost money.

“All the van lads are having the same problems.” He said he’d try again this week. “I think it will be OK, I will manage, it’s fingers crossed.”