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Worry over inaccurate portrayal of scallop fishing

14 Feb 2013
The scallop sector is the third most important to the UK fishing industry

The scallop sector is the third most important to the UK fishing industry

The Scottish Fishermen’s Federation (SFF) has criticised the UK's Channel 4's ‘Hugh’s Fish Fight’ TV series for showing an inaccurate and negative view of scallop fishing.

The SFF says the three programme series, which begins tonight, will offer an imbalanced and distorted portrayal of the scallop fishing sector, which is the third most important sector of the UK fishing industry, supporting many jobs and providing consumers with a sustainable food resource.

Bertie Armstrong, chief executive, SFF, said: “The suggestion by some celebrity chefs that we should eat only hand-dived scallops is wrong and totally impracticable as only 2% of scallops are harvested by divers, which would deny the vast majority of consumers the opportunity to enjoy this superb and sustainably caught seafood, leaving the availability of scallops to only rich elite. The scallop sector is also very important to our economically fragile coastal communities, employing 600 fishing sector jobs and 750 processor jobs all around the coast.”

He points out that: “Scalloping only utilises a very small part of the seabed with vessels consistently fishing the same areas decade after decade." To imply that the scallop sector causes wide scale damage is both disingenuous and disproportionate. Scallop fishermen depend upon abundant scallop stocks and a healthy marine environment and are committed to the protection of marine biodiversity," he added.

The industry has been involved in a number of environmental initiatives in recent years such as the development of a ‘Good Practice Guide for Scallops’ to ensure that scallop fishing activities avoid damage or disturbance to sensitive seabed habitats and protected sites. It also trialed different styles of dredges to improve the selectivity of the gear and mitigate any impact on the seabed.

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The scallop sector is the third most important to the UK fishing industry

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