Open Seas launch campaign to boycott scampi
Crustacean Compassion welcome the spotlight that Open Seas is shining on the environmental impacts of the scampi industry, but we are keen to ensure that animal welfare receives the same consideration.
Open Seas, are calling on UK shoppers and supermarkets to avoid scampi (also known as langoustines or nephrops) due to the extensive environmental damage caused by bottom-trawling. Bottom-trawling involves dragging heavy nets across the seabed and is the primary method of capturing langoustines. Each year, more than 300 million are landed by UK vessels into UK ports, representing significant risk to marine environments and fish stocks.
The Open Seas campaign calls particular attention to the issue of bycatch. Due to the small size of langoustines, bottom-trawlers use fine mesh netting, which increases the likelihood of non-target species being accidentally captured. Worryingly, Open Seas have identified that for every 1kg of langoustines caught, at least another 1kg of non-target species is also caught. Our own report, Sea to Plate: The Welfare Journey of Decapod Crustaceans, highlights similar concerns, with 30 x more bycatch being killed during trawling compared to using creel pots (4.5kg of bycatch compared to 0.15kg).
There are also serious welfare concerns associated with trawling; this risk to welfare is the focus of our current Close the Loophole campaign. Trawling causes immense stress and physical injury to animals, including oxygen deprivation, rough handling, and attempted escape. Once hauled aboard, langoustines are often dismembered whilst alive and conscious, with their head being torn off and discarded, and their tails retained for the scampi trade. Our campaign video, below, shows animals writhing in agony following dismemberment.
Crustacean Compassion understand the concerns raised by Open Seas and support their call to review current practices. However, we remain committed to working with the industry to improve welfare standards for decapod crustaceans, having created the Crustacean Industry Welfare Hub and developed our own Codes of Practice. We are keen to ensure that animal welfare is considered alongside the environmental damage associated with trawling for scampi, starting with the inclusion of decapod crustaceans in the Animal Welfare Act – please support this call to action by signing our petition.