Seafood lovers rejoice! The sea around the Bay of Seine and the Bay of Saint-Brieuc is brimming with plump, juicy scallops, with experts predicting a great season ahead and possibly even a record-breaker.
Each year ahead of the start of scallop fishing season, the French Research Institute for the Exploitation of the Sea (Ifremer) assesses the mollusc population – and things are looking particularly good in the Bay of Saint-Brieuc. “The total immediately exploitable biomass – shells that have reached the size of 102 mm or more – announced today is 61,300 tonnes, an increase of 30% compared to the already exceptional year of 2022,” reported Ifremer. It is thought the figure could reach 78,200 tonnes by the end of the year.
In the Bay of Seine, the figures are not quite as impressive, but between Barfleur (Manche) and Cap d’Antifer (Seine-Maritime), scallop levels are the second highest in 50 years. The total exploitable biomass is estimated at more than 88,000 tonnes, including more than 72,000 tonnes in the Bay of Seine.
In even better news, Ifremer notes a high number of one-year-old shells, which exceeds all estimates for the Bay of Seine over the past 50 years. “This confirms the good health of the population, and suggests record forecasts for 2024, provided that these juveniles, already large at the time of the campaign, are not fished before they have participated in reproduction,” it said.
The success is down to stricter controls over fishing dates and times, better equipment which doesn’t damage under-developed, new generation molluscs and the establishment of a fallow area in the Bay of Seine that changes every year.
It’s great news for the festive season in France, when eating scallops is particularly popular.