The king scallop Pecten maximus is a native European species traditionally consumed in a number of European countries. Compared with wild fisheries, aquaculture production is small (60 tons/year: FAO, 2006) and is only undertaken in France, Ireland and Norway. However, this figure underestimates the role of hatchery seed because it is being increasingly used for population enhancement programmes, notably in France and Ireland. King scallop is a highly valued and sought-after product on the European seafood market.
However, available supplies are limited due to a decline in the scallop fishery caused by recruitment failure and harmful algae. Market supply of scallops in Europe is therefore strongly dependent on imports of other pectinid species,from overseas, which currently represent approximately 50 000 tons of fresh and processed scallops annually. Increased European production will basically rely on hatchery seed production. It is mainly the difficulties in larval rearing that have limited the application of such technology to increase seed production. Some progress has been recently achieved by the development of flow-through systems for larval rearing but, as with most of the Pectinidae, king scallop production in the hatchery is far from being under complete technical control and research is therefore still needed.
During this project, UiB leads research on P. maximus.