While doing a bit of background research for my article on three different ways with seared scallops I came across a video clip from Gordon Ramsay’s Channel 4 programme The F Word about fresh scallops. Guaranteed fresh, in fact – he’d just hand-dived them himself.
As you may already know, the omnipresent Mr Ramsay has a bit of a thing about hand-dived scallops – they’re less likely to have sand in them, for starters. But his strong views about them aren’t necessarily popular with everyone, as this story from January last year relates:
Now, I’d be willing to accept that a sudden surge in demand for a scarce meat or fish product may cause sustainability problems – to keep up with demand, the producers have to catch increasingly immature animals, which means that they’re no longer reproducing at the same rate. We’ve seen this happening elsewhere in the fishing industry. (On the other hand, a surge in demand for manufactured goods can be a big advantage too – as the manufacturers of the various pots, pans and utensils that Delia’s name-checked over the years will no doubt attest.)
But the Mail‘s quotation from John Hermse of the Scallop Association defeated me:
Gordon Ramsay doesn’t know what he is talking about by promoting hand-dived scallops over the vessel-caught scallops. Through his ignorance he is contributing to an unsustainable practice.
Let’s just stop a moment and think about this, shall we?
Hand-dived scallops are retrieved individually, by hand, from the seabed, with little or no disturbance to the marine environment. Vessel-caught scallops are caught in large numbers by not just disturbing, but dredging up swathes of seabed, sometimes damaging coral reefs in the process. And hand-diving‘s the unsustainable practice?
Industry representatives are expected to defend their members’ interests. That’s fair enough. But I’d rather they didn’t insult my intelligence in the process, thanks.