We Are Ocean Wise
Updated: Aug 4, 2021
The Ocean Wise seafood program is designed to help consumers find sustainable seafood options in stores and restaurants. As a consumer, it can be hard to know where your seafood comes from and how it was caught, but when you see the Ocean Wise symbol, you know that seafood is coming from ocean-friendly fisheries. We are a proud partner of the Ocean Wise seafood program and our scallops are recommended as a sustainable choice by Ocean Wise.
The swimming scallop fishery in BC is sustainable for a variety of reasons:
The fishery is very small. With only 2 active licenses, this fishery is the definition of small-scale.
The fishing gear is incredibly selective. The Butterfly trawl was specifically designed by the fisherman for this fishery. Unlike other scallop fisheries, the trawl was designed to minimizes damage to the ocean floor. It does not rake or scour, but rather gently bounces along the bottom. The runners (not rakers) are present to keep the net off the ocean bottom in order to catch the scallops while they swim. The trawl design won a Romeo La Blanc Award in 2003 for responsible fishing.
The fishery results in minimal bycatch. The trawl moves so slowly that any animals that can move have plenty of time to get out of the way. Bycatch includes animals like sea urchins, sea stars and fish, which are all released back unharmed. The bycatch is so limited that fisheries documents say "next to nil". Undersize scallops, known as discard, are also returned unharmed and have a 97-98% survival rate.
The fishery is well managed. The scallop fishing areas are well defined and are assigned a biologically based quota. This quota is based on surveys that are completed every two years by the fisherman (and funded by the fisherman). The surveys determine what is available in each fishing area, known as a bed. DFO scientists take the survey data, as well as biological samples, to assign a quota for each bed that equates to 4% of what is biologically available.
To learn about the fishery, science, management and more, view the Ocean Wise rating for Pink and Spiny Scallops or read the Seafood Watch Report.