We’re inclined to be blinkered about our food production in the UK, happy to eat labelled and packaged products without questioning what’s in it, where it came from, and how it was made.
I remember a woman talking to a butcher in a Farmer’s Market. He told her that his meat was humanely killed and hung for a couple of weeks.
scallops-camber-rye06And she gave a dramatic shudder and said, ‘Ooh, too much information!’
She was happy to buy a piece of meat as long as she couldn’t picture it as a cow, a pig or a lamb!
It’s the same with our fishermen. People don’t realise what a dangerous job it is, and what terrible handicaps they now have to cope with, thanks to all the bureaucracy.
A lot of fishing fleets that supply our supermarkets are often at sea for 4-5 days.
The fish is unloaded, and taken by lorry to the factories. So it is often a week old when it’s displayed as Fresh Fish in the supermarkets.
Rye has 30 fishing boats that are only at sea for a short time. They’re out and back again within 14 hours. Then the catch is unloaded and sold, fresh and alive, mainly to local restaurants.
But don’t mention the EU! They cause huge problems for our British fishermen, and control their quotas.
The general opinion is that our Government cares more about the farmers than the fishermen!
6-7 of the fishing boats are now equipped to fish for scallops.
scallops-camber-rye05At the moment, scallop fishing isn’t limited. But it probably will be as more boats are now catching them.
The fishermen have an agreement amongst themselves to limit what they catch and when they catch it. Although they can catch scallops all year round, for six months the fish have no coral.
The scallops season is from November-April, but they don’t start to fish until mid-December, for the Christmas market.
Like a tree, you can tell how old a scallop is by counting the rings on the shell.
Some scallops are huge, and up to 20 years old, but the meat is small and dry, so they’re thrown back into the sea again to die gracefully of old age.
Their worst enemy  – not counting humans – is the starfish. It can sit on top of the shell and poke a leg inside. Then it sucks the meat out.
If it gets stuck, it can re-grow its leg.
Rye’s tradition of scallops fishing is only 30 years old. The boats have about four Spring Loaded Harrows on both sides of the boats, like on the front of an excavator. When lowered, they dredge the bottom of the sea and scoop up the scallops.
On rare occasions the Harrow can get tangled on the bottom and stick there. The boat will then capsize and sink in seconds.
If the fishermen are quick and notice it at once, they may be able to cut the Harrow free. But it’s a very dangerous occupation, and they have to be alert all the time.
scallops-camber-rye04Andy, Adam and Russell work at Market Fisheries, where the boats come in.
A lot of the catch comes straight to them, where it’s de-shelled, (I don’t know the technical term, but I’m sure there is one!) and the other fish are gutted, etc, within seconds, and either sent to local restaurants, or placed on sale for customers who know that they’re guaranteed the ultimate in freshness!
The waste is collected and burnt to generate electricity.
They’re local celebrities and have appeared on Hairy Bikers, Charlie Borman’s 10 Mile Menu, Southeast Today, Country Files, Great British Food, Masterchef, and many more!
The 12th annual Rye Bay Scallops Week takes place 15 – 23 February 2014.
There are lots of scallop-related events taking place, and in between, it’s worth a trip to the historical Rye area for a sightseeing trip.
Don’t forget to take some fresh local fish home with you. Our fishermen have worked hard to catch it for us. They’ll clean and prepare it for anyone who can’t bear to look at the head (too much information!)  – and it’s good for you too!

scallops-camber-rye13COOKING SCALLOPS
Simplicity is best here, to enjoy the flavour of the scallops.
Gently fry in butter for no more than 5 minutes a side.
Add parsley, lemon juice and seasoning and toss the scallops in it.
Serve in their well-washed shells with the juices poured over, either as a starter, or accompanied by a salad, boiled new potatoes and French bread.
There are many different scallop recipes, as you can discover at the Rye Scallops Fair.


Jane Ellis
Tourism PR and Travel Trade
+ 44 1424 451113

Hastings Borough Council and 1066 Country Marketing
Aquila House, Breeds Place, Hastings, East Sussex,TN34 3UY

Follow us on Twitter and Facebook:

About Lyn

LYN FUNNELL CV (well, sort of!) Lyn had very successful careers as an Air Hostess, Sales Rep, (she was one of only a couple of women. She beat all the men regularly, becoming the Top Rep in the UK, and 2nd in the world.) And then Catering took over. She did everything from the washing-up, to Silver Service Waitress, and Chef. A few times, she had to cook the meal, dash round the other side and Silver Serve it! In between all this, she wrote as often as she could, building up a reputation as a published short story writer, (Horror and a twist in the tale,) and a Poet. She has appeared as a Performing Poet, and a Demo Chef. Then she discovered the world of the Food & Travel Writer. And that’s what she has continued doing to this day. Her main hobbies are Cookery and entering Competitions. She has won many prizes, including holidays and a moped. She enjoys entering Competitions, submitting her original recipes. She was first in many Competitions, including the Good Housekeeping Millenium Menu, Fruits of France, Bernard Matthews Turkey Recipe, and appeared on BBC’s The One Show Spag Bol contest. She was one of three Finalists, coming 2nd, which makes her Britain’s Spag Bol Queen! Now she runs B-C-ing-U! and loves it! After several years of being messed around by Editors, and having loads of contacts, Lyn formed her own online Magazine, vowing to treat her writers fairly, and to do everything possible to further their careers, publicise their books, etc. She now has a band of excellent regular writers, and the Magazine’s going from strength to strength! Lyn’s online published books; Adverse Camber A collection of my published poems. The First Book of Short Stories The Second Book of Short Stories The Third Book of Short Stories. Many of these stories have been previously published. St Anthony of Padua. The Patron St of the Old. A story of one woman’s terrible ordeal in a Home, and her family’s rescue of her. The Girl Who Watched. A Cuban girl is attacked by an English journalist & what follows! Willy the Whizz & the Wormhole. Suitable for Young Adults, aged 15-95! Get Out Of Debt And Stay Out – Forever! Unsympathetic, hard-hitting, realistic solutions to your problems. All these books are published by Andrews UK Ltd www.andrewsuk.com No, I didn’t pay them to Vanity Publish! They’re all available from Amazon, and many other online publishers. LYN FUNNELL.