Good Practice Project
The Queen Scallop, a medium sized species of scallop with a colourful shell, is abundant in the Ria de Vigo area but little had been done to add value to this mollusc, simply sold generally fresh at low prices. Ensuring a better market price for the species, as well as avoiding interruptions to its supply due to periodic pollution, led the San José de Cangas Fishing Association to consider the possibility of growing scallops in lantern nets. This had never been done in the area and support from the University of Vigo and the Spanish Institute for Oceanography was called upon to investigate the conditions and methods that might make an aquaculture activity possible.
In close collaboration with the fishermen, scientists and researchers studied the best season and place for collecting the spat, how to best extract it from the containers and methods of on-growing that would maximise the scallop growth and survival rates. Tests were conducted, for example, to decide the acceptable density of individual Queen Scallops in the crop baskets, the right timing to transfer them to the lantern nets and the optimal methods for detaching and cleaning the mature scallops. These test activities were successful in developing a new production activity for Queen Scallops which was less susceptible to seabed pollution.
This was then followed by a professional market study to best sell this new production. It included the development and laboratory testing of different types of Queen Scallop products, such as canned, frozen, and vacuum packed scallops as well as in modified atmosphere packaging. At the same time, gastronomic events were attended to promote them.
A second phase was subsequently needed for further testing and fine tuning. This cost approximately €45 000, of which €38 500 were financed by the FLAG.
The project developed a greater understanding of the reproduction and cultivation cycle of the Queen Scallop and allowed fishermen to diversify their production activity from fishing to also growing Queen Scallops. This has resulted in a more steady, dependable and sustainable supply. Two full-time jobs were created to run the aquaculture activity and two new Queen Scallop products are now on the market (frozen and vacuum packed). Both products are selling at double the price of fresh Queen Scallops (€3 up from €1.5), having accessed new urban markets outside the area such as Madrid and Barcelona.
This sort of close collaboration with research is necessary for a range of experimental projects, from the development of new production techniques to innovative food products.
Special attention must be paid to ensure good communication and trust between fishermen and researchers so that both are aware of the objectives and the limitations of the other (e.g. inclement weather conditions that prevent sampling, the need for time for data processing etc.). This is vital for a constructive relationship and ultimately impacts on the quality of information gathered.
|Total project cost||€153 818|
|Timeframe of implementation||From Jun 2010 to Oct 2013|
|Type of area|