French fishermen dump scallops
Forced two weeks ago to trash 40 tons of scallops in the face of crumbling demand, scallop fishermen in Normandy, France, have now achieved a delicate equilibrium between supply and demand.
"We're monitoring the situation on a daily basis," said Paul Francoise, president of French industry seafood organization CNPMEM.
Hit by the economic crisis and a saturated market in Spain, Europe's biggest consumer of seafood and a major importer of French scallops, the fishermen in Northern France's Normandy region threw away 40 tons of scallops last month.
Francoise told SeafoodSource the decision arose because the fishermen's Producers Organization (PO), which seeks to organize and stabilize the fishing industry, concluded it would be "too expensive to freeze and stock" the considerable quantities of scallops left unsold on the market.
Tackling the problem head on, CNPMEM advised its fishermen to fish fewer, and only high quality, scallops.
As a result, the scallop fishermen are today working four days a week, instead of a potential six.
According to Francoise, the move to fewer landings has succeeded in "injecting some vitality" into the market and has improved the balance between supply and demand.
"I think we have tackled the problem head on, and it is highly unlikely we would have to throw away any more scallops," he said.
The industry group continues to track the market on a daily basis, alert to any market changes that could shift the delicate balance.
"If the situation improves, the fishermen can go out more often," added Francoise.
Today, the French scallop fishermen are earning EUR 3 (USD 3.8) a kilo for scallops.