Hi guys, thanks for coming by to read the transcript for the Green Fish Blue Oceans podcast episode, Q is for Queen Scallops and Quotas.
You know, when I decided to do an A-Z format, I gotta admit, Q was one of those letters, I was like Whaaaat? And FYI? V. X. and Z were a challenge too. But I think you’re gonna love both parts of today’s program. So thanks for tuning in. If you’re new, don’t forget to subscribe so you don’t miss an episode.
So before I jump into the program, I want to mention a couple of things.
First, if you’re a regular listener/reader then you know I’m behind schedule. I’m sorry about that. I know consistency is key in so many aspects of creation.
So why am I behind?
I think because of the anxiety I have regarding the recent weather-related catastrophes in the world. The flood in Southern Asia, Hurricane Harvey, Irma, Jose, and Maria. Plus when I don’t know anything about a topic, I get anxiety about producing a show about it. Prior to this show, I knew nothing about Queen Scallops. And Quotas in fisheries is a huge topic. When I set up S1 schedule, I thought oh I can do this. is But the last few weeks I’ve been overwhelmed! And so I procrastinated producing this episode.
But I want to touch on this anxiety for a few more moments.
Specifically, eco-anxiety. I first heard the term on the podcast Terrestrial hosted by Ashley Ahearn. Ashley defines eco-anxiety—a chronic fear of environmental doom. She explained it like this—people who sit on their yoga mats who worry that the world is going to end because we don’t recycle enough. I was like, did she read one of my blog posts?
Anyway, I definitely have a dose of eco-anxiety.
And psychologists agree that climate induced catastrophes produce a range of disorders like anxiety, depression, PTSD and more. And interestingly, I find that the more I learn about something, the less anxiety I have.
First, I’m happy to say my friends in the Keys are all alive. They’ve lost pretty much evenrything they owned, but they are Keys strong!
I also want to take a few moments of silence for the recent Irma victims and the survivors.
Q is for Queen Scallops
This is a popular, important bivalve. The Queenie is a smallish scallop, about nine centimeters or three inches across. Queenies are free swimmers unlike the larger King Scallops that bury in the sand.
Where can you find Queen Scallops?
Queen scallops are distributed throughout European waters from Norway to the Mediterranean. From the Faroe Islands in the North Atlantic between Norway and Iceland, as far South as the Canary Islands off the coast of NW Africa. But mostly found in the Irish Sea between Ireland and Great Britain.
What’s their sustainability status?
It depends. Queen scallops get the Best Choice rating by Seafood Watch and MSC certified QS in 2011 but then suspended the rating in 2014 due to over exploitation.
Queen Scallops that are fished in the Irish Sea are a well-managed fishery due to their fishing methods, closure, and landing limits.
It’s not easy to assess scallop stocks. And often queenies are caught when fishing for kings.
Interestingly, according to Marine Conservation Society, queenies are not in distress because of overfishing. Their production or populations, or lack of have more to do with spawning methods, ocean surface temperatures and availability of suitable habitat.
While the actual method of catching queenies differs from Kings, queens use an otter trawl that has a tickler chain to stir up the ocean bed while a dredge for kings has teeth that rake up the ocean floor, neither is an ideal method for fishing in my opinion.
The other method for catching scallops is diver-caught. This is an expensive method and certainly cannot sustain the demand.
And just because I say so doesn’t mean you will stop eating scallops and fisheres will stop catching them. Scallop fishing for queens and king scallops makes up over 8 percent of the global production This is big.
I am a fan of scallops. Scallops are not only delicious, they are bivalves which makes them filter feeders.
And although I don’t eat scallops often mostly because I live in Kentucky and the scallops I buy from Maine are one expensive and two only available certain times of the year. I gotta say if I lived in the UK, I would be eating a hella of a lot more scallops.
Just like when I lived in Florida, I ate much more seafood.
- Scallops are sold, fresh, frozen and in the whole shell, and half shell.
- Most of the time you will buy scallops at the market out of the shell.
- Scallops are processed and sold by the pound and count similar to shrimp.
- Sizes range from u 5 meaning under 5 scallops for a pound, to 30/40 count and much higher for tiny bay scallops.
Scallops can be baked, sautéed, fried, poached, steamed and smoked. You can eat scallops raw.
They have a sweet yet briny flavor. And they are so tender! Oh, I love them. And Elvis doesn’t like them at all, so when I buy scallops I get them all to myself!
But mostly, scallops are best when pan seared in a hot skillet for a minute or two, finished with a dab of butter, a squirt of lemon juice and air-kissed with salt and pepper.
- First off, before you turn on the heat, have everything else ready to go—salads tossed, table set, the wine opened and poured.
- Second, use a kitchen timer or the timer on your phone. Scallops need little cook time. Two minutes pass quickly.
- Third, don’t crowd the pan. You want equal distance between the scallops so they get that nice caramelized sear. If you place too many in the pan at the same time, the scallops will steam.
- And here’s the last, most important tip—know where your scallops come from and who is catching them. Some processors add water and chemicals to scallops. Yes, it’s true and it’s legal. How will you know? When you cook them, the scallops will shrink and offer a funky taste and mouthfeel. They’ll be chewy. So be judicious. Know your fisherman.
Now. Even though I love to eat scallops simply, that doesn’t mean you can’t add flavor. Check my YouTube channel for Pan Seared Scallops and Soba Noodles recipe video. Find me there at maureen c berry. Don’t forget to subscribe. In that recipe, the scallops were prepared simply, pan seared with salt and pepper, but I paired them with a spicy creamy peanut vinaigrette dressing for the noodles. Yep, I know it might sound crazy, but it works.
Also, I put a link in the show notes to my website for more scallop recipes.
I have quite a few recipes on the site. So enjoy that.
- So do you eat scallops?
- Are you fussy about where you buy your scallops?
- Do you think about how they’re caught?
Let me know. I’d love to hear from you.
And if you’d like to know where I buy my scallops, check the show notes for a scallop broker in Maine. These aren’t queenies, but they are amazing and as sustainable as you can get in the US. The Maine scallop season opens in less than 70 days from today’s podcast recording.
Q is for Quotas
What’s a Quota?
A quota is a catch share. Which in fisheries terms means a specific species is regulated by the government. Usually by a weight and for a specified time.
Fishing in a specific region has its own challenges and opportunities. By having regional standards fishery managers gain flexibility by working with locals to improve the fishery and the fishing communities.
In the US, a fisherman must apply for a quota for a specific fishery through the US Dept of Commerce. Applicants must be eligible and be approved.
There are eight regional councils in the US that do the approving.
- The Gulf of Mexico
- North Atlantic
- North Pacific
- South Atlantic
- Western Pacific
Why do fisheries have quotas and when did quotas become such a big thing?
In the US in 1976, enter Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. Prior to that fishing was like the wild west. Fishermen could go out when they wanted for as long as they wanted. When the markets were flush with fish, the prices bottomed out. It was supplied vs demand.
How is a quota established?
“Many times the quota share for a particular vessel will be based on the catch from the previous year. In some markets, the quota shares can be bought and sold from vessel to vessel. This means it may be worth it for the tiny SS Minnow to sell its shares to the SS Behemoth and never leave the dock. The SS Minnow is actually making money by not fishing.
So how do that impact the actual fisherman and his family and community? If a third of fourth generation fisherman doesn’t have to go fishing, what does he do with his time, his boat? How is he contributing to the community? Does he or she really like the idea of never fishing again? Most of the people I know who fish for a living, love it. Absolutely love it. Is that soul-crushing? I think so.
Are quotas necessary?
Absolutely. Quotas address biological issues.
If fisheries are left unchecked, we will run out of important commercial species by the year 2050.
But it’s bigger than all that. These are not separate issues, but rather should be combined to determine how effective quotas are for not only the environment and fish stocks, but for the fishermen and fishing communities.
This is such a broad topic and I’m sure I’ll be talking about it again in S2.
So I leave this with you. Do you think quotas are necessary? Let me know I’d love to hear from you. Find me on Twitter @maureencberry or email at maureen c berry at gmail dot com.
Up next on Green Fish Blue Oceans R is for Rock Shrimp and Rising Oceans. Thanks so much for reading.
And don’t forget to subscribe on iTunes if you’d like to listen to the podcast.