Why this Christmas will be a good one for scallop-lovers in France

Why this Christmas will be a good one for scallop-lovers in France
A fisherman sorts the scallop shells from the other things caught onboard a fishing boat in Port-en-Bessin, northwestern France. Photo: AFP
There was good news for scallop lovers in France this week with reports that French fishermen have pulled in huge haul of Coquilles Saint-Jacques.

The number of scallops harvested in France set an “historic record” this year, according to a French Research Institute for Sea Exploitation (Ifremer), which every year analyses the general state of France's scallop population.

This year, the institute reported an extraordinary harvest in the regions off the coasts of Brittany and Normandy in north western France.

On the Saint-Brieuc bay in northern Brittany the number of exploitable scallops (the shells conforming to requirements for sale) had increased by “basically 50 percent compared to the last two years, which were excellent as well” Ifreme said in a new report.

That equated to 37,000 tons of Coquilles Saint-Jacques in total.


Further east, on the Seine bay in Normandy, the situation was also much better than usual, with harvests “exceeding double the average over the last 10 years,” the institute said (64,000 tonnes in total).

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French scallops. Photo: AFP

Why the spike in scallops?

This year's results were keeping with a trend that began in the early 2000s, and which has been reinforced the past years in large part thanks to 15 years of careful fishing policies, according to Ifrem.

“These (policies) include the overall reduction in fishing by setting up strict fishing dates and times, or improving gear,” they said.

READ ALSO: Why do the French eat so much seafood at Christmas?


What will this mean for prices?

A delicacy in France, scallops are rarely the cheapest thing on the menu, and shellfish lovers will hope this year's abundance translates into a price drop both in restaurants and supermarkets.

With restaurants facing a somewhat uncertain future due to Covid-19, no one really knows what will happen – perhaps there will be a scallop feast in supermarkets – but at least there won't be a scallop shortage anytime soon.

READ ALSO The 12 dishes you need for a classic French Christmas feast 


Coquilles Saint-Jacques – scallops

Pêche – fishing

Baies de – bay of

Fruit de mer – seafood



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