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UK Scallop Industry Shunned by 'Prejudice'

by 5m Editor
27 January 2009, at 12:00am

UK - The majority of the scallop industry of the UK has withdrawn from a large stakeholders symposium on Thursday, resulting in its cancellation.

According to the Scallop Association, The trouble has been caused by an "astonishing display of prejudice" against the industry by the CEO of Natural England.

"Rape and Pillage" are the words used by Helen Philips, CEO of Natural England, the government advisers on the marine environment, to describe the legitimate operations of scalloping vessels in the seas off Lyme Regis, in the decades before ex-Fisheries Minister, Jonathan Shaw, last year ordered the closure of the 60 square miles of the valuable scallop beds and nearby reefs in Lyme Bay.

In terms of the weight landed compared to the value per tonne, Scallops at £1865 per tonne are the second most prized shell-fisheries asset in UK waters.

This sector of the UK industry is worth £39 millions, says the Scallop Association. 15 per cent of the total shellfish production.

“In describing their legitimate activities as “rape and pillage”, Helen Philips has exposed deep-seated prejudices and has insulted the scallopers and families, whose livelihoods have been decimated by the closure last August of the Lyme Bay scallop fishery", said the Scallop Association in a recent press release.

“Instead of being “consulted”, we have simply been “conned”. Instead of being praised for our valuable contribution to marine conservation work, we have been pilloried as ‘though common criminals”, said Jim Portus, who witnessed Helen Philips’ savage attack.

The industry feels that it has no reason to apologise for the contribution it makes to food security in the UK. "Scallops are not only healthy and wholesome, but the stocks in UK waters are harvested within safe biological limits" says the association. We have no reason to be ashamed of what we do for a living that is legitimate and is conducted without government handouts.”

5m Editor