Call for investigation into scampi marketing

a lot of cooked langoustines

A leading UK marine charity has today called for an investigation into the way that scampi is being described and marketed.

Open Seas has lodged a complaint with the Competition and Markets Authority over the way supermarkets describe this popular UK seafood product, whether it is caught or cultivated.

Many supermarkets describe scampi as being responsibly sourced, but Open Seas says this is quite misleading – an accusation strongly denied by retailers.

The charity has been campaigning against scampi sourcing for some time, arguing that the majority of UK consumers – around 80% – don’t know that scampi is made from langoustine. These shellfish are being caught by highly damaging fish techniques, the organisation says, in particular bottom-trawling, which comes with a large proportion of by-catch for every kilo of langoustine trawled.

Open Seas also says that instances of exploited migrant labour have been found in the UK fishing fleet.

Nick Underdown, head of campaigns with Open Seas, said: “Catching large volumes of young fish against scientific advice is not responsible. Trawling over fragile marine habitats is not responsible. An increased risk of forced labour and human trafficking within the scampi supply chain is not responsible.

“Businesses failing to address these problems is not responsible. The way scampi is produced has all the hallmarks of an irresponsible fishery.

“We’ve raised these concerns with supermarkets, but they continue to sell scampi as ‘responsibly sourced’.”

He continued: “Language is important and the term ‘responsibly sourced’ is used repeatedly on packaging to give the impression of responsibility, whilst concealing the many environmental problems and human rights issues associated with scampi.

The British Retail Consortium said that retailers were committed to sourcing scampi responsibly, working closely with stakeholders and suppliers to ensure products meet customer expectations on sustainability.

Several UK supermarkets and scampi producers such as Young’s and Whitby Seafoods told the BBC today that they are active in a number of seafood protection related sustainability organisations, including the Marine Stewardship Council.




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