LONDON, June 10 (UPI) -- Lovers of the traditional British meal of fish and chips can rest easy, officials said, as North Sea cod stocks appear on the road to stability.
The Marine Stewardship Council, which certifies whether fish are caught using sustainable practices, said while it is too soon to tell exactly when the North Sea fishery will reach that level it should be ready for certification within years rather than decades.
"This is really great news," council spokesman James Simpson told the BBC. "We have done an assessment of the entire inshore industry and it's clear that cod is on the way back."
Strict catch limits accompanied by a massive public campaign for sustainable fishing was responsible for the recovery of cod stocks, industry officials said.
"There's also been a change in the mindset in the industry," said Barrie Deas, head of the National Federation of Fishermen's Organizations, which represents fisherman in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
"We work very closely with the scientists now."
Certification by the council is based on the state of the fish stocks, the environmental impact of the fishery, and management systems in place to maintain sustainability.
The latter two were already in place, Simpson said.