‘Home of Scampi’ disputes charity’s claims of unsustainable practices

A scampi supplier has hit back at a call for an investigation into “harmful” scampi sourcing by the charity Open Seas.

Open Seas warns “extensive damage” is caused from trawling the seabed with heavy nets when catching langoustines for scampi. It says other marine life snared in the process is often wastefully discarded.

It wants the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to investigate supermarkets who claim this food is being “responsibly sourced”.

Nick Underdown, head of campaigns at Open Seas, said: “Consumers should not be misled by products being marketed in this way.”

However, a spokeswoman for Whitby Seafoods, today told the BBC: “We strongly dispute the claims made by Open Seas.”

She added that North Yorkshire-based Whitby Seafoods has, “a strong track record in building on the work of the scampi fishing industry in driving improvements to sustainability.

“The claim that scampi is ‘responsibly sourced’ is used in line with strict third-party guidance from the Sustainable Seafood Coalition.

“We welcome the opportunity to explain to the CMA, or any other relevant party that asks us for clarification, about this important subject.”

Whitby Seafoods is a family-owned business which was founded nearly 40 years ago. According to its website, the company makes over one million portions of scampi per week.

Last October, the firm scrapped plans to acquire Northern Ireland-based Kilhorne Bay Seafoods, after the CMA warned the deal could lead to higher prices for customers.

Whitby Seafoods is the largest UK supplier of breaded scampi to catering clients with a market share of 90%, according to the CMA.