The South West’s fishing industry is enjoying one of the best King Scallop seasons for many years, with the local economy boosted by the number of visiting vessels from ports across the UK.
Plymouth Fisheries, the second largest fresh fish market in England, has reported a record number of visiting scallopers in recent months, as vessels journey to the region to take part in this seasonal bonanza.
Pete Bromley, Manager of Plymouth Fisheries, said: “The King Scallop is the mainstay of the UK fishing industry, and the South West is having an especially strong season, one of the best for years.
“Over the years, this has proved to be a well-managed fishery and stocks remain healthy, so with no quotas on King Scallops, skippers can generally land as many as they like.”
Stock levels for King Scallops are protected by effort control for larger vessels and a minimum landing size rather than quotas, and unlike most fish, small scallops can survive being caught and returned back into the sea quite easily.
Pete added: “The larger, more powerful vessels are restricted to the number of days each year that they can fish for scallops, and there are various seasonal closed areas on the inshore grounds around the coast which prevent overfishing by the smaller boats.”
Spawning of the King Scallop (Pectin Maximus) takes place between April and September, and their value is at its highest when the scallops have a full roe, which is easily identified as a bright orange appendage clearly visible when the shell is opened.
Plymouth Fisheries is a key fisheries hub for the South West, sustaining over 600 direct and indirect jobs, and fish landed at other ports across Devon and Cornwall is often transported to be sold in Plymouth.
The fish market, owned and operated by Sutton Harbour Holdings Plc, has seen turnover increase since the complex relocated to custom-built new premises in Sutton Harbour in 1995, and enjoyed record landings in the last year with a catch value of £19.4million, compared to £17.3million in 2014.