{Video} The Scallops Whispered To Me + The Sustainability of Conch

Scallops are one of my favorite foods. You all know from reading this blog that I'm all about dessert. But sometimes a tender scallop can be as good as a fresh-from-the-oven chewy cookie.

So as I was walking around SENA, I literally stopped in my tracks when I saw these huge scallops from Chesapeake Bay Packing. I'm getting hungry just thinking about them. Then again, it's also time for lunch. What should I make? But, I digress....

Chesapeake carries a variety of seafood. They have Bay Scallops from China. Shrimp from Argentina. Conch from Maryland. And those big beautiful scallops are from Georges Bank, which includes the Atlantic off Cape Cod.

I was very surprised to learn that conch was found in the United States. My introduction to conch was on a trip to the Bahamas many years ago. I learned that it is a bit difficult to cook well. The first time that I tried it was at a restaurant. I think it was a conch sandwich and it was horrible and rubbery.

Because of that disgusting less than delightful meal, I thought that I didn't like conch. But then I was invited to dinner at a friend's house and had conch. It was so good! I realized that it's all about the skill of the cook!

Doing some quick reading for this post, I learned that conch is also known as Queen Conch and is very vulnerable to overfishing. The Seafood Watch rating says Avoid. The Bahamas National Trust has a Conchservation Campaign going on in order to have a sustainable Queen Conch industry in the Bahamas.

Little did I know until now, but Massachusetts also has a conch industry. It's been quite lucrative, but also in jeopardy. A Saving Seafood article says that in 2011, "the state’s conch fishery brought in more than $6 million. For many fishermen, conch has come to replace lobster as the catch of choice, after stocks of the crustacean dropped in southern New England’s warming ocean waters."

So it's not surprising to learn that just last month, the Vineyard Gazette reported that the rules may be tightening for conch fisheries in Massachusetts. An excerpt from the article is below.
 David (Tubby) Medeiros, an Edgartown conch fisherman, favors the changes. “The total collapse of the conch fishery is on the horizon. They need to give those things a break,” he said. Most conch fishing is done in Nantucket Sound.

“There are places you used to go where you could fill a pot with six to seven pounds. Now you go there and can’t get anything,” Mr. Medeiros said, adding: “We know where all the [conch] nurseries are and we normally stay out of them. Now those places are getting a lot more pressure from the mainland [fishermen].”
Hearing about the rise and seeming decline of the Massachusetts conch industry in just a few minutes was a lot to take in.

But I did feel better after reading the ratings by Seafood Watch about scallops. Scallops all over the world have a Best Choice or Good Alternative rating. Now that's something I can sink my teeth into.

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Disclosure: I received press credentials for complimentary admission to SENA.

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Margie said…
I love scallops, Lisa.
I have never conch
Lisa Johnson said…
margie - Unless things change, it might be harder to find conch as time goes on.

Have a great weekend!

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