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Marine sustainability charity Open Seas has called for UK supermarkets to address the problems associated with the nephrops trawl fishery method

Supermarkets have been urged by campaigners to remove scampi from their shelves until there have been significant improvements in their sourcing.

Marine sustainability charity Open Seas has called for UK supermarkets to address the “chronic bycatch problem” associated with the nephrops trawl fishery method.

The charity has claimed that for every kilo of langoustine caught for scampi in bottom-trawls, another kilo of marine life is killed and discarded.

It has suggested reducing this impact on fisheries will be “impossible” without improved monitoring systems across the fleet.

The demands are being made as the Scottish government consults on proposals to roll out vessel tracking systems on the under 12m-long fishing boat fleet, which closes on 7 November.

“The Scottish government has a golden opportunity to put in place a regulatory system that will address the sustainability issues within the scampi market,” said Phil Taylor, director of Open Seas. “For years now our supermarkets have sought to fix the bycatch problem associated with scampi, but this will be impossible without proper vessel tracking in place showing what is caught where, and enabling the avoidance of bycatch hotspots.”

The UK government recently concluded a consultation on fitting ‘Remote Electronic Monitoring’ on all English fishing boats, though Scottish ministers are currently considering plans to deploy REM for only the scallop dredge and pelagic sectors and certain segments of the under 12m fleet.

UK supermarkets wrote to Scottish ministers calling for the change in 2018, but it has yet to be implemented and the supermarkets have continued sourcing regardless, Open Seas said.

The charity said these delays in implementing REM had been “thwarting sustainability” for the seafood sector.