Scampi sustainability a major priority for industry, says Seafish
The reports allege that the fishery causes significant damage to the seabed, has a negative impact on other species and that bycatch levels are too high.
But Seafish says the issues are far more complex than have been portrayed and is now highlighting the efforts made across government, science and industry to ensure the Nephrops fishery is sustainable now and in the future.
There are two fishing methods used to catch Nephrops – creels are used to catch and land live Nephrops, and trawl nets are used to catch the larger volumes, usually used in scampi production.
Aoife Martin, Seafish Director of Operations, said: “Recent media coverage suggests that consumers should avoid scampi because the fishery causes environmental damage. This is an extreme view; the reality is much more nuanced and reflects a fishery where government, scientists, and the fishing industry work collaboratively to improve the management of the fishery and to ensure its long-term sustainability.
“Suggestions that the Nephrops fishery is unsustainable because of the levels of bycatch associated with the fishery are incorrect.
“Nephrops are usually caught as part of a mixed fishery and are an important and valuable part of the catch, but so are other species such as whiting, haddock and cod. Together these key commercial species can account for over 80% of the catch. To label these other species as bycatch is not correct. These are important species that are usually retained because they are commercially valuable.”
Seafish does acknowledge that unfortunately, endangered, threatened and protected species can occasionally get caught in fishing gear with fishermen required by law to report any capture or entanglement of any marine mammal in their equipment. Work is ongoing to better manage this problem, with a focus on increasing monitoring to improve the understanding of the scale and impact of marine animal entanglements.