The fish in our fish and chips may be shrinking forever due to climate change, according to a marine biologist.
Species such as cod, one of the most common components of the traditional British dish, could be a fifth smaller by 2050.
Dr William Cheung, from the University of British Columbia in Canada, blamed the declining size on climate change, as this is reducing the level of oxygen in the ocean.
Speaking at the 50th Anniversary Symposium of the Fisheries Society of the British Isles at the University of Exeter, Dr Cheung said fish struggled to find enough oxygen to breathe as the ocean temperatures rose.
Fish more easily become “out of breath” as they grow larger.
Cod is one of the fish types that could also be forced north in search of colder water, something that would benefit Arctic fisheries such as those in Canada, Russia and Norway.
But we would be left with fish more commonly found off Spain and Portugal and our fish and chips could soon be made with sea bass or anchovies.
But there is still time to preserve our national dish, as Dr Cheung said that efforts to reduce the impact of climate change and conservation programmes could still make a big difference.
He said: “International actions in achieving the Paris Agreement will benefit Britain’s fisheries by substantially reducing climate impacts on fish stocks.
“At the same time, local actions that improve the health of fish stocks, and protecting their critical habitats, can also reduce help moderate climate impacts on the fisheries.”