Booths ditches dredged scallops ahead of Fearnley-Whittingstall show

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Booths has stopped selling dredged scallops ahead of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s anticipated attack on the industry in tonight’s Hugh’s Fish Fight: Save Our Ocean series.

The upmarket northern grocery chain is now sourcing British scallops from The Ethical Shellfish Company, based in the Hebrides. Diving for them means there is no damage to marine plants or animals and no waste or bycatch. 

The move was the right thing to do to enable customers to buy a range of high quality fish and seafood from Booths counters, said COO Chris Dee.

“The hand-dived scallops are more succulent and better quality, and while they are more expensive, we feel our customers will support our decision and enjoy a more sustainable scallop of superior quality,” he said.

In tonight’s show, Fearnley-Whittingstall is expected to show video footage of the damage that can be caused to the sea bed by scallop dredging equipment.

It has already sparked fury within the fishing community. The Scottish Fishermen’s Federation has already branded the show an “inaccurate and negative portrayal” of scallop fishing.

“The suggestion by some celebrity chefs that we should eat only hand-dived scallops is wrong and totally impracticable as only 2% of scallops are harvested by divers,” said chief executive Bertie Armstrong.

Scallop fishermen focused their efforts on less sensitive habitats such as sand and gravel, he added. “To imply that the scallop sector causes wide scale damage is both disingenuous and disproportionate.”

Readers' comments (11)

  • THIS IS A DISCRASE PURE AND UTTER MISLEAD NONSENCE OF HFW A BIG ATTACK ON US THE FISHER MEN A DISCRASE AND THIS MAN IS ONLY TELLING ONE SIDE OF THE STORY HE SUDE TAKE A LOOK AT IT FROM A FISHERMANS POINT OF VIEW !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  • just goes to show the intelagence of the governing bodies.

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  • This show and protest is great for the future of fishing and the sea bed its about time someone brought this matter to light if this was done on land where you could see it you'd be jailed. As a scallop diver for 14 years I've first hand experience in this matter. Keep up the good work Hugh and team.

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  • People responsible for dredging cannot deny this causes a lot of damage to other sealife and that cannot continue. Totally behind this campaign to protect our seas. Also for keeping alot of what is caught and enjoyed within the UK and not exported

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  • I have dived a lot around the UK and the damage is very evident where dredging takes place.
    I do like eating seafood and if it is caught responsibly I accept the premium that I have to pay for this. I would like to know how many sandy arease that may not be damaged by dreging there are in the uk to put a balance on the argument.?

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  • I have seen this footage on the complete devastation of the sea bed through dredging. How can anyone say that dredging is anything else apart from what it is ? Starfish, corral and just about everything else that gets inialated by these terrible devices. This has to STOP !

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  • A fine commercial gesture in the face of possible criticism, but how I understood the programme I watched was not against dredging, per say, but not having conservation areas that could restock dredged areas.

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  • My husband. Has a creel boat on the east coast of Scotland and has seen first hand the devastation caused by scallop dredging he says it is like using a sledge hammer to crack a nut. Before scallop dredging around his fishing grounds there were loads of crabs but now there are hardly any and half of them have no legs or claws and as for the dredgers trawling on sand and gravel is nonsense as here they trawl over every bit of sea bed they can including every bit of reef

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  • The vast majority of scallop dredging is done on sandy soft bottoms same as prawn trawling beam trawling.
    look at any beach in the uk after storms especially on the west coasts miles of beaches covered in 4 to 5 foot piles of seaweed big banks of sand gravel mussels cockles razorfish maybe Hugh should ask God to stop giving us storms

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  • ok then Robert why dont you bring up the side of The Fisherman, try and justify destroying so much of our ocean's and killing so much life that your leaving our ocean's is complete disarray. i have no problem of listening to both side's of the story but the more i read into this, not only through this site but others i find myself being more aware of just how much of our ocean is at risk because of this type of fishing.

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