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French Scallop Season Begins with Record Stocks

Sustainability Economics +3 more

FRANCE - The East Channel French scallop fishery opened on 1 October. The season typically runs until May depending on scientific advice. The stock biomass is estimated to be exceptional in the Seine estuary this year, a level not seen in 30 years, thanks to good fisheries management programs over recent years, writes Finnian OLuasa, Paris Office, Bord Bia Irish Food Board.

Many undersize scallop are however present indicating that fishermen will have to wait before fully utilising an abundant harvest but years ahead should yield good landings.

France produces an estimated 22,000 tonnes of scallop per year, live weight equivalent. The majority of scallop in France is sold for home consumption through retail outlets (78 per cent) while the foodservice sector accounts for around 22 per cent of national consumption.

Fresh whole scallop in their shell are abundant on supermarket shelves during the winter fishing season, however the majority of scallop is sold out of shell as meats throughout the year. Of the 12,500 tonnes of scallop sold in retail outlets, 84 per cent is sold as either fresh or frozen meats while the remaining 16 per cent is sold whole in shell. For foodservice the trend is more balanced with 54 per cent of the total 3,600 tonnes being sold as whole and 46 per cent as meats.

Peru, the UK and Argentina are the top 3 suppliers of Scallop to France. The UK supplies mainly fresh meats where as Latin America supplies mainly frozen meats. This includes a range of species including the smaller queen scallop.