More clear-cut is this rebuttal of an article in The Sunday Times, which seemed to suggest that cod in the North Sea would soon be a childhood memory.

The Defra article states: ‘An article in The Sunday Times claimed that “fewer than 100 mature cod are left in the North Sea”... This is completely wrong, in fact we know there to be around 21 million mature cod in the North Sea. Cod start to mature from a year old and are fully mature at age six. There are a small number of cod over the age of 12 years old which has always been the case in the North Sea even when fished at lower levels in the 1950s and 1960s. Cod older than 15 have rarely been recorded in the North Sea.’

Undoubtedly, we need to get smarter at managing fisheries and working out what is a sustainable catch - then sticking to it. We also need to start farming fish on a larger scale.

However, one piece of good news in that Sunday Times article was that as cod has declined, one of its major prey - brown shrimp - has flourished. As with many apparent resource catastrophe, the answer may be as much in switching to a different resource - in this case, eating more shrimp - rather than having to do without altogether.

Myth Bust: The Sunday Times claims that there are ‘fewer than 100 mature cod are left in the North Sea’, Defra