Due to the labor shortage in the restaurant industry due to the coronavirus pandemic, the chefs at his restaurant had not experimented with the roe, Mr. wiley. They’re hoping for this winter, even if they’re not quite sure of the reception they’ll get.
“Offal is difficult to sell, especially seafood offal,” he said.
However, this is not the case in much of Asia, particularly Japan, where the whole scallop is prized: adductor, roe, and scallop.
Michael Uehara, chief executive of Great Bear Ocean Farms in Prince Rupert, British Columbia, sells most of his live scallops to a primarily Asian clientele, who, he says, appreciate both the guts and adductors.
“Every part of the scallop is edible,” Mr Uehara said, “and Asian populations search for it. We stomp on the shell and use it as abalone, or dry it for snacks.”
Great Bear, which will be co-owned by the Metlakatla First Nation, is one of the largest scallop farms in North America. Before the pandemic, it produced an average of half a million scallops a year, which is not nearly enough to meet demand. Three million scallops a year is the current target, which Mr Uehara says is on track to meet.
One of the reasons there are no more scallops in North America is that they require a significant investment of money and time. Scallops take about three years to reach full size. Scallop farming is also very labour-intensive. Each bivalve must be individually tied to a leash before being hung in the water, a process that hangs from the ears and results in particularly large, shapely animals with a potential wholesale price of as much as $3 each when they come alive sold.