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.
Les populations de coquilles Saint-Jacques en baie de Seine et baie de Saint-Brieuc battent des records ! ? C'est le résultat des dernières évaluations scientifiques menées par les équipes de l’Ifremer, en appui aux gestionnaires de la pêche ?https://t.co/6HraJFqHwt
— Ifremer (@Ifremer_fr) October 6, 2020
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).
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.
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.
Coquilles Saint-Jacques – scallops
Pêche – fishing
Baies de – bay of
Fruit de mer – seafood