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Ground-breaking project kicks off scallop fishery improvement plan

The UK scallop dredge sector has taken steps towards a sustainable future by agreeing a five-year action plan. The move which will see the industry come together with the wider seafood supply chain and NGOs to drive fishery improvements.  

As part of the MSC-facilitated Project UK Fisheries Improvements (PUKFI) the industry has signed up to a Fishery Improvement Action Plan which outlines five years of improvements to work towards an environmentally sustainable future for UK scallops.   

The PUKFI scallop steering group, which includes representatives of the UK scallop industry, retailers, NGOs, scientists, governments and the supply chain, has published its plan for scallops in the North Sea, West of Scotland and Irish Sea on the global Fishery Improvement Plan (FIP) progress tracking database

Mike Park OBE, Chief Executive of the Scottish White Fish Producers Association (SWFPA) said: "The health of our stocks and oceans underpins everything that we now do as fishermen. Understanding data gaps and specific environmental challenges and dealing with them is what we are now about. That is why the PUKFI Stage 2 scallop FIP is of strategic importance to everyone involved, but especially the scallop members within SWFPA. We now have an action plan that will help us fill those data gaps thus ensuring we remain on the path of maintaining a healthy and economically vibrant scallop sector".  

Claire Pescod, Chair of the Steering Group said: “This is a ground-breaking project bringing together a wide group of industry and seafood stakeholders to identify and drive forward fishery improvements in this important sector.  This is the first time that such an ambitious plan has been identified and agreed which outlines the scallop industry’s pathway to sustainability. This is a significant commitment from the industry and supporting partners and really underlines their commitment to a sustainable future for these scallop fisheries.”

Launched in 2016, Project UK Fisheries Improvements (PUKFI), is running Fishery Improvement Projects on eight UK fisheries that have been selected by the UK supply chain due to their importance for the UK market. It does this through strategic use of the MSC process to give each fishery the tools to implement changes.

Under the plans for the scallop dredge industry the focus will be on three areas: 

  1. Stock: Ensuring the effective management of the scallop stock and the methods and rules that are used to manage exploitation including the identification of stock boundaries.
  2. Environment: To better understand the species and habitats that dredging gear interacts with, including catch composition, endangered species and habitats, and the management required to avoid unsustainable impacts.
  3. Effective management: Management groups will be established for each stock unit with clear stakeholder roles and responsibilities.

It is supported by Waitrose, Lidl, Young’s Seafood, Whitby Seafood, The Cooperative, Seafood Ecosse, SWFPA, Macduff, Clearwater, Tesco, SFF, Morrisons, M&S, Associated Foods, Sainsbury, Seachill, New England Seafood and WWF.