Erquy, the capital of the scallop
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Erquy, the capital of the scallop

In the Côtes-d'Armor region of Brittany, scallop fishing is the flagship activity of the port of Erquy. Fished off the coast of Saint-Brieuc, the scallop is a very popular shellfish among gourmets.

The scallop, the white gold of the Bay of Saint-Brieuc

Erquy is one of the top three fishing ports, in terms of tonnage, where scallops are landed by boats. Almost 50% of the national production is carried out in the Bay of Saint-Brieuc, in the north of the Brittany region. That's 3,000 tonnes of scallops landed at the auction.

A delicate and refined dish, much appreciated by gastronomes

Whether in the nut or in the shell, the scallop (Pectem Maximus) is a refined dish much sought after by seafood lovers and gourmets. Its flesh is fine, melting and very tasty. It can be eaten raw, in tartar, carpaccio, ceviche or sashimi. The scallop is also delicious cooked, pan-fried, grilled, poached, au gratin or roasted. And above all prepared in the Breton way, in a more traditional way, with onions, shallots and white wine, covered with breadcrumbs. A recipe that makes your taste buds travel to Brittany!

With or without coral?

The scallop is hermaphroditic, meaning that it is both male and female. It has a unique genital gland, the coral, with a white (male) and an orange (female) part. But don't look for coral in fresh Erquy walnuts, because there isn't any! When it is fished in October, the reproduction period is over and the coral has disappeared.

How are scallops caught?

The scallop is caught with a dredge, a large rake that scrapes the ocean floor. On board the boats, the fishermen sort the scallops one by one. They throw back into the sea all the scallops that are not the legal size (10.2 cm). The aim is to give the juvenile scallops time to reproduce and allow the stocks to be renewed. Scallop fishing is highly regulated: two days of fishing per week for 45 minutes per day.

Visit the Erquy fish market

Take advantage of your holiday in Erquy to watch the unloading of the shells in the port. The auction is reserved for professionals, but tourists can attend. Guided tours are organised during the summer and school holidays. Meet at 6.30 am, in front of the entrance gate of the harbour auction. Remember to bring warm clothes.

The Scallop Festival

Every year in April, the ports of Erquy, Saint-Quay-Portrieux and Loguivy-de-la-mer take it in turns to organise the Scallop Festival. Fishermen's village, exhibitions, sea walks, musical events, concerts, fest-noz, and of course scallop tasting, are on the programme for these two days of celebration.