Asked in Clams Oysters and ScallopsRays
Are stingrays used for sea scallops?
July 12, 2012 7:20PM
I have been fishing, preparing, cooking and serving stingray, skate and shark meat for more than 40 years; and I can tell you, definitively, that the majority of seafood restaurants serve cookie-cutter plugs of stingray, skate and shark as "sea scallops"...
Anyone who is well familiar with the texture of stingray, skate and shark can INSTANTLY identify the bogus scallops. True sea scallops and bay scallops DO NOT have striated (fibrous) muscle tissue, as do sharks, stingrays and skates. A bogus scallop will look like a cross-section of striated muscle tissue. A TRUE scallop has a smooth, uniform texture.
There are many chefs out there who will SWEAR that it's illegal to market shark and stingray as "real" scallops, but that is simply not true. It's my conjecture that such chefs are covering their own practice of substituting shark and stingray for other delicacies on their menus.
If there are such laws, then seafood restaurants all over the USA are violating those laws with impunity, no doubt because such laws are not stringently enforced.
The argument that sea scallops and bay scallops are more plentiful and are cheaper than stingray, skate and shark meat is also preposterous. Bay scallop populations in U.S. waters are on the decline for various reasons, and many of their marine habitats have been declared endangered, under federal protection. Being on the endangered list DOES NOT precipitate lower scallop prices.
Small, whitemeat sharks and stingrays, on the other hand, are abundant in U.S. coastal waters in the EXTREME, and very few sharks, skates and stingrays are on the endangered species list. These boneless, whitemeat fish are REGULARLY used as substitutes for a whole range of marine delicacies, and most unobservant consumers can't tell the difference.