British retailers have led a new agreement with processors and NGOs which will make the UK’s scampi fisheries more sustainable.

Scampi fishermen across England, Scotland and Northern Ireland will now adopt the Marine Stewardship Council’s (MSC) new “In Transition to MSC” (ITM) programme, driving forward the industry’s work on sustainable fisheries. Scampi is one of the most valuable fisheries to the UK economy, with annual retail spend of scampi at £74.3m in 2023. Unlike many other popular seafood dishes in the UK, scampi is unique because it is wild-caught in waters around the British Isles.

The new programme stems from the work of the Project UK Fishery Improvement Plan (FIP), a multi-stakeholder initiative helping fisheries work towards sustainability, which concluded its five-year project in April. However, the new ITM programme goes further on commitments to sustainability and human rights.

The ITM programme will refocus efforts by applying the newest and most innovative MSC framework. Scampi fisheries will be provided additional support from world class fishery experts and the MSC. The ITM provides a focused, time-bound roadmap with enforceable penalties for those failing to hit key milestones. The programme will also incorporate a third party social risk assessment (SRA) for fisheries, which aims to protect the welfare of those working in the scampi supply chains.

Sophie De Salis, Sustainability Policy Adviser at the BRC, said:

We are delighted to have reached this new agreement - UK retailers are dedicated to sourcing seafood products responsibly, with the UK having some of the greatest coverage of independent sustainable seafood certification in the world. We acknowledge the special challenges that the UK's largely mixed fisheries face, and support the patient, long term approach needed to ensure that this culturally important food remains on our shelves long into the future. 
Retailers were at the forefront of a new agreement between scampi fishermen in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland adopting the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)’s “In Transition to MSC” programme. This is a vital step in securing the most credible and established sustainability certification scheme possible for scampi.