By Lindsey Partos, SeafoodSource contributing editor, reporting from Paris
Published on 11 October, 2012
French seafood agency FranceAgriMer has announced the launch of a nationwide media campaign to promote scallops, in the same week a spat over scallop fishing breaks out between French and British fishermen in the English Channel.
From 15 October until 15 May a national media campaign will encourage French shoppers to up their scallop consumption.
Scallops are fished by about 800 boats in France along the Atlantic front, from the northern Nord-Pas-de-Calais down to the Charente-Maritime area. Last year's season saw 15,660 metric tons (MT) of scallops placed at auction. The principal ports for scallops run along the Normandy coast, including Dieppe, Port-en-Bessin and Granville, as well as in Brittany.
With the French science agency Ifremer regularly assessing the stocks, steps to encourage sustainability in scallop production have resulted in strict surveillance, quotas and tight dates for the opening and closing of the fishing season in France.
The fishing period is permitted for a maximum of seven and a half months, and in some zones for a much shorter period: for example, the Seine Bay opens in December, according to FranceAgriMer.
These sustainability measures are national, and not European-wide: which means that British fishermen can legally come to the French coast and fish for scallops, as long as the scallops measure more than 11 centimeters. And while the French season opened on 1 October, the British have been allowed to drag for scallops since 1 August.
Angered by what they feel is overfishing, earlier this week dozens of French boats encircled a handful of British fishing vessels off the French coast, the French national newspaper Le Monde reported.
According to the report, the French threw objects in the direction of the British boats, to such an extent that the French national Marines had to intervene. In addition, on Friday the British fishermen called for Royal Navy protection to stop any further attempts to prevent them from fishing for scallops.