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Scallop Association Commits To Sustainability

UK - The Scallop Association has told UK Fisheries Minister Richard Benyon that it is committed to the long-term sustainable management of UK scallop stocks and the habitats upon which they depend.

At a two hour meeting with the Minister earlier this week at Brixham harbour aboard the scalloper MFV Korenbloem, the Association told the Minister it is committed to securing a sustainable scallop industry for its members and underlined the steps already in progress to ensure responsible management of the scallop fishery.

They include the development of a UK Scallop Industry Good Practice Guide, which will be used as the building block for the development of a programme of responsibly sourced scallops. Scallop fishermen are also working towards certification for the Marine Stewardship Council standard for sustainability in the English Channel scallop fishery.

The Association, representing nearly all the UK catching and processing capacity, highlighted the importance of the scallop sector to the UK economy with a first sale value of £45m in 2009 – the third most important species landed by value. Onshore the scallop sector supports 14 major processing companies who collectively employ 750 people. Exports to France, Spain and Portugal account for 70% of sales worth approximately £80m in 2009.

The Minister was told of serious concerns regarding the manner in that Marine Protected Areas (MPA) are being created without due consideration given to the impact on traditional fishing activities. The end result is inevitably the loss of fishing grounds and the displacement of scallop vessels into other areas.

Mark Greet, Association chairman, said: “The Scallop Association was delighted to be able to meet Richard Benjon UK Fisheries Minister.

“We were really pleased that the Minister had decided to get the facts about our sector from the experts - the professional fishermen, rather than ill informed sensationalist campaigners, who seem to grab the headlines using emotive sound bites.

“We also covered our Good Practice Guide - developing a responsible fishing package and our forthcoming assessment for MSC certification.

“He seemed impressed with the accuracy of fishing effort and how boats can precisely work around sites of conservation importance.

“We also discussed the current DEFRA consultations on a proposed English Scallop Order. Whilst we support many of the proposals, we impressed on him the importance of harmonising arrangements around the UK. Our members have concerns regarding differing application of management regimes applying around the UK. which will potentially stop our nomadic vessels from their long term harvesting strategy. This is what makes their operations so sustainable; harvesting beds in rotation every few years.”

“The Minister told us he is working with his counterparts in the other administrations to try and ensure that this can continue and that he found his visit useful.”

the Fish Site Editor

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