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Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority Confirms Commencement of New Food Safety Monitoring Programme for King Scallops as of June 1st 2024

Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority Confirms Commencement of New Food Safety Monitoring Programme for King Scallops as of June 1st 2024

The Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA) has issued a Food Safety Information Notice (FSIN) in relation to the harvesting of King Scallops from both offshore (non-classified) and classified shellfish production areas. The FSIN describes a new and enhanced monitoring programme for King Scallops which comes into effect on the 1st of June 2024. In this new monitoring programme, there will be increased sampling of whole scallops and more toxins will be analysed. The SFPA has worked collaboratively with the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) and the Marine Institute (MI) in preparation to implement the enhanced monitoring programme. The SFPA has held briefing sessions and consulted with industry in the lead up to this change. The FSIN is available on the SFPA’s website on and by opening the following link Food Safety Information Notice Harvesting of King Scallops

King Scallops are a Live Bivalve Mollusc (LBM) species which are harvested/fished by Irish fishermen primarily from offshore wild fisheries and by the inshore fleet from a number of classified production areas.

Specific EU Regulations apply to Live Bivalve Molluscs including scallops to ensure compliance with food safety standards. All commercially harvested scallops must comply with these regulations in order that they can be placed on the market for human consumption.

The harvesting or fishing of scallops can only take place from Classified Production Areas that are on an ‘Open’ Biotoxin status for scallops when they can be marketed live and whole in the shell or on a ‘Harvest Restricted’ Biotoxin status when only shucked product of those parts of the scallop which have tested below regulatory limits for marine biotoxins can be placed on the market. No harvesting of scallops is allowed from a classified production area that is on a ‘Closed’ Biotoxin status for scallops. In order to maintain an “Open” or “Harvest Restricted” biotoxin status for scallops from Classified Production Areas, a whole scallop must be submitted each calendar month and test less than the regulatory limit. In addition, one sample of shucked product (edible parts) must be sent on a weekly frequency per classified production area to maintain the scallop Biotoxin status of a production area.

It is not permitted to place whole scallops from offshore sites on the market as whole animals.  These scallops can only be marketed as adductor and gonad tissue. The biotoxin sampling frequency for whole wild scallops fished from offshore scallop grounds is monthly. Each offshore site (4 or more ICES rectangles combined) when fished requires one sample of whole scallops for biotoxin analysis per month. All whole scallops must be sent to approved processors and a weekly sample of processed product (adductor muscle and gonad) must be sent for testing.

The  “Code of Practice for the Irish Shellfish Monitoring Programme (Biotoxins)” has also been updated and is available on the FSAI website.

For further information, please contact any SFPA office or contact the SFPA Food Safety Unit at sfpafood&


Further Information

About the SFPA 

The Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA) is the independent statutory body responsible for the regulation of the sea-fisheries and the sea-food production sectors. It promotes compliance with the EU Common Fisheries Policy, sea-fisheries law and food safety law relating to fish and fish products, verifies compliance and, where necessary, enforces it. Its mandate covers all fishing vessels operating within Ireland’s 200-mile limit, over 2,000 Irish registered fishing vessels wherever they operate, and all seafood produced in Ireland’s seafood processing companies. The SFPA operates through a network of regional port offices situated at Ireland’s main fishery harbours. For further information visit: