Waitrose has become the first major UK supermarket chain to sell MSC certified British clams, which are now on sale at counters across 150 of its stores, with sustainable British cockles due to enter its counters later in the summer.

The clams and cockles which are sourced from the Poole Harbour Clam & Cockle Fishery, are supplied by the Dorset Shellfish Company, one of the leading specialists in the country and key supplier to some of the top restaurants in the UK. As the only major retailer in the UK to source this particular variety of clams and cockles, Waitrose continues its responsible sourcing strategy to sell the widest range of British and MSC-certified seafood of any supermarket.

The Dorset Shellfish Company, which provides many of its clams and cockles to Michelin grade restaurants around the country, has never supplied produce directly to supermarkets before due to the usually high demand from the restaurant trade. But with the food service industry closed due to Covid for the best part of three months and with some restaurants only just beginning to reopen, Waitrose has provided a much needed lifeline to Dorset fishermen whose livelihoods have been at stake during this uncertain and challenging period.

Tommy Russell, Dorset Fisherman from Poole Harbour Clam & Cockle Fishery, and Chairman of the Poole and District Fisherman’s Association, comments: “With MSC certification we can proudly say that both our clams and cockles are sustainable and we’re helping to protect our seas fish stocks for future generations. The quality is so high that we typically supply the restaurant trade but with the food service industry closed down until now, Waitrose has shown their support and it’s become an important lifeline during these difficult times.”

Mitch Tonks, award-winning chef, restaurateur and food writer, comments:

“The Poole Harbour clam and cockle fishery is one of the most extraordinary in the U.K., with only a handful of small boats being seasonally allowed to catch clams and cockles, supporting a sustainable stock. The experience of eating them is incredible, the juices are salty and sweet and the texture is wonderfully firm. Spaghetti with clams is probably one of my favourite dishes.”

George Clark, Senior Commercial Manager for the UK and Ireland at the Marine Stewardship Council, comments: “In stocking these new shellfish items from Poole Harbour, Waitrose become the first big national retailer to offer fresh certified sustainable live clams on their fish counters with the blue MSC label; making this versatile South Coast seafood widely available to hungry UK seafood consumers for the first time.”

Fresh Dorset clams are available on Waitrose counters at 150 stores now and priced at £12 per kg, with a promotion of 20% off.

Dorset cockles will be available later in the summer.

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