U.K. Scallop Dredgers Reach Out to NGOs
The Scallop Association and the Shellfish Association of Great Britain will reach out to the environmental community to allay concerns about the impacts of dredging the ocean floor for shellfish.
Seafish, the Scallop Association and the Shellfish Association of Great Britain created the National Scallop Group to secure a sustainable future for the scallop-harvesting sector that balances the need for environmental protection and profitable fishing operations.
The groups seek to establish an "acceptable footprint" of scallop harvesting that allows fishermen to harvest scallops while minimizing the environmental impacts of their operations.
"There are several steps needed to reach this goal but for the first step the industry needs to know what the challenges are," says Dr. Tom Pickerell, spokesman for the National Scallop Group.
The industry groups say that non-governmental organizations (NGOs), celebrity chefs and consumers are clamoring for sustainable and responsibly harvested seafood.
Consequently, there is a need to reassure the supply chain that they can confidently source scallops from fishermen who address the environmental concerns of both the Statutory Nature Conservation Agencies and the environmental organizations.
The groups have written to all the U.K. and European Union environmental organizations with an interest in the marine environment seeking their policies, concerns, fears, issues and suggested mitigating actions for scallop dredging.
"We are ready to listen and willing to act but the NGOs have to be clear about what they are seeking and must be realistic," says Mark Greet, chairman of the Scallop Association.
The next Seafish National Scallop Group meeting takes place on Nov. 25 in Edinburgh, Scotland.