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.”

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