ILHA GRANDE, Brazil – An association of small producers on the island of Ilha Grande, off the coast of Rio de Janeiro state, has put Brazil on the list of countries producing scallops commercially.
With a harvest of some 60 tons a year from undersea breeding grounds, the 15 members of the Mariculture Association of Ilha Grande Bay convinced restaurant owners and managers in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro to substitute frozen scallops imported from Chile with fresh Brazilian ones.
Besides achieving a commercial production volume, the association is set to obtain Geographical Indication registration, a form of Denomination of Origin that will give a seal of excellence and added value to scallops from Ilha Grande.
“After 21 years as an association, we will be able to standardize production and get our Geographical Indication. It will be an acknowledgment of our standing that will help us distribute and sell even better. We hope the Industrial Property Institute will award it to us right at the start of 2019,” association president Carlos Kazuo Tonack told EFE.
Tonack, owner of the Costa Verde marine farm, said the association was initially conceived as an alternative for hundreds of fishermen who were left unemployed on Ilha Grande after dozens of sardine producers in the region closed down due to overfishing.
“We used to be small producers who offered our product to tourists visiting Ilha Grande, but eight years ago the aguaculturists came along with another idea and proposed supplying restaurants in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro,” Tonack said.
Association members can grow around 500,000 scallops per season.