Our Wholesale Scallop Sustainability Practices
The U.S. fishery for sea scallops is the most valuable sea scallop fishery in the world. But this wasn’t always the case. In the 1990s, catches were plummeting and the fishing effort was too high. Since then, though, the National Marine Fisheries Service has changed the way it manages the fishery by using a system of closed area rotations to allow scallop stocks to recover to optimal population levels. In addition, new gear modifications that reduce the catch of small, immature scallops have been enacted. As a result, sea scallop populations off the Northeast have multiplied ten fold and catches have been consistently at or near record highs since 2001.
The sea scallop fishery has also undertaken a variety of measures to reduce its environmental impact. In certain areas, for example, scallopers are required to use Turtle Deflector Dredges to reduce interactions with sea turtles. And the scallop fleet spends up to $10 million on benthic surveys to mitigate habitat impacts.
In light of these conservation efforts, the U.S. sea scallop fishery is currently undergoing assessment to be certified as sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council.