Hand-dived scallops drowning in EC rules

09 March 2012 by
Hand-dived scallops drowning in EC rules

Scallops are practically de rigueur on the menus of fine-dining restaurants, or even just those with fine-dining pretensions. The shellfish is ubiquitous - you need only look as far as Masterchef where it seems to find its way onto every other dish produced by aspiring chefs.

In fact, the king scallop industry has grown year-on-year to hit £54.5m in 2010, and hand-dived scallops are the benchmark of real quality.

But sadly, despite their enduring popularity, all is not well in their world - or more specifically, in the world of the artisan hand-dived scallop industry that harvests them.

As we discover in our investigation into the state of the industry on page 46, EU regulations are preventing producers from selling scallops live and in their shell because of rules governing the acceptable level of certain toxins in bivalvia (oysters, mussels, and scallops). These regulations govern the whole scallop, including the guts, where most of the toxins reside, making it extremely hard for hand-dived scallops to pass the test without being shucked.

The effect on the hand-diving industry has been near-catastrophic. A few years ago there were 13 hand-diving businesses on the Scottish Isle of Mull. There are now just two.

UK hand-dived scallops are a premium product, sustainably fished, providing top quality shellfish to restaurants around the country, and much-needed jobs to the local economies that produce them. But it is now hard to get them alive and fresh, and when shucked it is hard to distinguish between dive-caught and dredged.

We need a commonsense solution to this problem - an agreement between chefs and producers that they do not use the viscera would be a good way forward. Scallops are not eaten whole in the same way as mussels and oysters, and the European policy makers need to recognise this.

Hand-dived scallops drowning in EC rules >>

By Neil Gerrard

E-mail your comments to Neil Gerrard here.

If you have something to say on this story or anything else join the debate at Table Talk - Caterer's new networking forum. Go to www.catererandhotelkeeper.com/tabletalk

Catererandhotelkeeper.com jobs

Looking for a new job? Find your next job here with Catererandhotelkeeper.com jobs

Blogs on Catererandhotelkeeper.com ](http://www.catererandhotelkeeper.com/blogs) Catch up with more news and gossip on all Caterer's blogs
[E-Newsletters](http://www.catererandhotelkeeper.com/email-newsletters.htm)[ For the latest hospitality news, sign up for our E-newsletters
The Caterer Breakfast Briefing Email

Start the working day with The Caterer’s free breakfast briefing email

Sign Up and manage your preferences below

Check mark icon
Thank you

You have successfully signed up for the Caterer Breakfast Briefing Email and will hear from us soon!

Jacobs Media Group is honoured to be the recipient of the 2020 Queen's Award for Enterprise.

The highest official awards for UK businesses since being established by royal warrant in 1965. Read more.


Ad Blocker detected

We have noticed you are using an adblocker and – although we support freedom of choice – we would like to ask you to enable ads on our site. They are an important revenue source which supports free access of our website's content, especially during the COVID-19 crisis.

trade tracker pixel tracking