News: Fish & Chips proudly remains our national dish

07 June 2019

LONDON – On National Fish & Chips Day, UK Fisheries is proud to announce that fish & chips remains firmly Britain’s national dish, with almost nine out of ten Brits proclaiming it as their favourite, and more recent pretenders like chicken tikka masala preferred by fewer than one in twenty!

Despite the success of more recent challengers such as hamburgers, kebabs or even the (home-grown) chicken tikka masala, some 85% of over 2,000 people polled from Cornwall to Scotland said fish & chips had the best claim to be the UK’s national dish, with no other contender polling more than 4%.

But despite this runaway success, only one in four of us know that most of the cod or haddock we enjoy in our fish suppers is caught neither in British nor EU waters, but in the distant and bountiful fishing grounds off northern Norway, Svalbard, Greenland and Iceland.

Happily, Britain has her own state-of-the-art trawler, the Kirkella, operating in these waters. Based in Hull with a largely British crew and landing all of her catch in the UK, Kirkella is there to guarantee that our cod and haddock remain proudly British.

Worryingly, perhaps, fewer than one in three MPs polled by Populus are aware that this is where most of our national dish comes from, with almost half wrongly believing that the cod and haddock sold in our chippies comes from UK territorial waters.

UK Fisheries has written to Liam Fox at the trade department (DIT) and Michael Gove at the agriculture department (DEFRA), asking them not to forget the men and women of the vitally important British distant waters fishing industry as they seek to strike post-Brexit deals with our traditional non-EU partners around the North Sea. However, they have yet to commit to maintaining Kirkella’s traditional fishing grounds if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

Jane Sandell, CEO of UK Fisheries, said:

“We can all celebrate the continued popularity of our delicious national dish, but it is surely a concern that as the UK government seeks to negotiate trade and fisheries access deals for a post-Brexit world, two out of three of our lawmakers have no idea where it actually comes from!

“We want to make sure our negotiators don’t give away access to lucrative British markets for fish to partners like Norway and Greenland without ensuring British distant waters fishermen can continue to operate in their traditional waters.”

Andrew Crook, President of the National Federation of Fish Friers, said:

“It’s great to see this poll backing up what we already know in the fish & chip industry, and it’s a testament to the hard work put in by our member shops and the suppliers investing in their business to ensure the fish and chips served today are the best they have ever been. I have no doubt there is a bright future ahead for our iconic dish.”

For more information on Kirkella, see or follow @ukfisheriesltd @greatbritfish


Notes to editors:

The £52m fishing vessel Kirkella is the pride of the UK’s distant waters fishing fleet. Named by HRH The Princess Royal in April, she boasts the highest standards of sustainable, environmentally responsible fishing and highest quality accommodation and living and working standards for crew.

UK Fisheries is the UK’s single largest presence in the distant fishing grounds off Norway, where it catches cod and haddock under quotas granted by Norway, in particular, but also by Greenland and the Faroe Islands.

Quotas are based on Total Allowable Catches determined by marine scientists who analyse sustainable stocks of fish species.

Of the fresh and frozen cod and haddock sold in UK fish & chip shops, approximately 60% is imported from trading partners such as Norway, 30% is caught in UK waters, and 10% is from UK distant waters quotas (caught essentially by Kirkella).

UK Fisheries is based in Hull where it lands its catches for the UK market and employs more than 100 staff. The company is working to ensure that Kirkella will have continued access to distant waters in a post-Brexit world.

Summary Poll Findings
– online fieldwork March 25 – 28, 2019 and Populus MPs Panel March/April 2019

Q1: What do you think has the best claim to be the UK’s national dish?

General Public MPs
(2,095 respondents) (124 respondents)
Fish & Chips85%83%
Chicken Tikka Masala4%6%
Pie & Mash4%1%
Steak & Chips3%3%
Big Mac meal1%1%

Q2: Where do you think most of the UK’s fresh or frozen cod and haddock is caught for the country’s 10,500 specialist fish & chip shops?

General Public MPs
(2,095 respondents) (124 respondents)
UK territorial waters close to the UK45%48%
EU territorial waters not including UK28%16%
Distant waters beyond EU/UK waters26%31%


Kirkella tour
Kirkella in Hull
Kirkella on the Humber
Kirkella Port 2
Kirkella Bow 2
Kirkella Birdseye 2
Kirkella Naming Ceremony and VIP Reception
Kirkella lunch party at Cutty Sark Museum
Kirkella Great British Fish & Chips event at Greenwich
Kirkella speech by HRH The Princess Royal
Kirkella passing through Tower Bridge
Kirkella BBC News
HRH The Princess Royal names Kirkella
Kirkella cutaway animation
Sir Barney White-Spunner, UK Fisheries Ltd, Interview
Kirkella General Tour
Kirkella Factory Tour


Kirkella trawling
Kirkella on Humber
Kirkella drone footage
Kirkella drone footage
Kirkella drone footage
The Kirkella Naming celebration lunch at the Cutty Sark Museum
The Fish Fryers free fish & chip event at Cutty Sark Gardens for 2,500 locals
The City of Hull Brass Band at Cutty Sark Gardens
Sir Barney White-Spunner, Chairman of the Advisory Board, UK Fisheries, at the Kirkella Naming celebration dinner at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich
Kirkella sailing upstream through Tower Bridge
Kirkella sailing downstream through Tower Bridge
HRH The Princess Royal with Graham Barney, Factory Manager, Kirkella
HRH The Princess Royal with Charlie Waddy, First Mate, on the bridge of Kirkella
HRH The Princess Royal unveiling a model of Kirkella presented by UK Fisheries to the National Maritime Museum
HRH The Princess Royal Naming Kirkella at Greenwich
HRH The Princess Royal meeting Stig Maersk, Musical Director, and players in the City of Hull Brass Band
HRH The Princess Royal making her address at the Kirkella Naming Ceremony in Greenwich
2,500 local people in Greenwich enjoying free Kirkella-caught cod & chips
Sir Barney White-Spunner, Chairman of the Advisory Board, UK Fisheries Ltd
UK Fisheries infographic
Kirkella poster
Cutaway illustration of Kirkella
UK Fisheries Ltd logo