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Scallop, King, scallops

Pecten maximus

Method of production - Caught at sea
Capture method - Dredge
Capture area - North East Atlantic (FAO 27)
Stock area - Cornwall
Stock detail - VIIe,f,g and h
Certification -
Fish type - Shellfish

Sustainability rating Click for explaination of rating

This fish, caught by the methods and in the area listed above, is not the most sustainable choice of fish to eat. Click on the rating icon above to read more and on the alternatives tab below to find more sustainable fish to eat.


Biology

King scallops are bivalve molluscs found in a range of depths from shallow waters in sea lochs to over 100m. They inhabit sandy-gravel and gravel seabeds. They have 2 shells or valves, the upper being flat, and the under or right valve, cup shaped. They are hermaphrodites (i.e. both male and female) and become fully mature at about 3 years old (80 to 90mm in length). Spawning occurs in the warmer months, from April to September. The species can grow to more than 20cm in length and live for more than 20 years, although average sizes are in the range of 10-16cm.

Stock information

Stock area
Cornwall

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Stock information

Management

Approximately 95% of scallops are caught by vessels using dredges, with a much smaller amount harvested by divers. Approximately 60% of these scallops are exported to European Countries, and France in particular, where British scallops are held in high regard. Commercial scallop dredging has taken place in the waters surrounding England for over 30 years and has developed into one of the country's most valuable fisheries. A stakeholder-based National Scallop Group, coordinated by Seafish, was established in 2008 to address industry issues, including environmental impacts. There are no quotas set for this species. Effort in these fisheries i.e. UK fleet capacity is capped through restrictive licensing. There are no seasonal closures in UK waters generally to protect stocks. For king scallops, current European Union (EU) legislation specifies a minimum landing size of 100 Mm shell length, except in the English Channel and Irish Sea where the limit is 110 mm. Generally, the maximum number of dredges is restricted to 6-8 per side within 6 nautical miles of the shore around the UK. Between 6 and 12 miles the fishery is less restricted, with a maximum of 8 dredges per side allowed in English waters, And 10 per side in Scottish waters. Outside the 12 mile limit, up to 14 dredges are permitted in Scotland, but in England there are no limits. As a result, some boats fish more than 20 per side, with dredge number only being limited by the size and horsepower of the fishing vessels. Scallop fisheries in Wales are more strictly regulated than Anywhere else in the UK. No scallop fishing is allowed within 1 mile of the shore and dredging between 1 and 3 miles is only permitted by boats less than 10 m in length and towing no more than 6 dredges in total. Within 3-6 miles and 6-12 miles respectively, totals of 8 and 14 dredges are allowed. Furthermore, all scallop dredgers in Wales must carry and use working satellite Vessel Monitoring Systems (VMS). Throughout Northern Irish waters out to 12 miles there is a maximum limit of 6 dredges per side. Finally, within Manx (Isle of Man) waters, dredges are limited to 25 feet total width out to 3 miles, and 40 feet between 3 and 12 miles. VMS is also compulsory around the Isle of Man. Apart from these general regulations, various local authorities impose stricter rules in specific areas throughout the UK. For example, some Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authorities (IFCAs) in England limit vessel sizes within their jurisdictions to 12-15 m in length. In addition, scallop dredging is banned within 3 miles of the shore in the Sussex IFCA district, and in an increasing number of European Marine Sites - Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) - in both England and Wales. For example, recent byelaws introduced by the Southern IFCA in England, who manage a total area of 670km2, ban the use of towed fishing gear (including scallop dredges) within 25% of their coastal waters (www.southern-ifca.gov.uk). Likewise, dredging is banned within the Cardigan Bay SAC in Wales (www.cardiganbaysac.org.uk) and in 6 fishery exclusion zones around the Isle of Man a network of Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) is currently being introduced in England and Wales through the UK Marine and Coastal Access Act and a network of Scottish Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) is currently being consulted on in Scotland through the Marine (Scotland) Act. However, it is still unclear how these designations will regulate fisheries.

Capture information

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References

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