Pubs and restaurants are facing rising seafood prices, with shellfish catches declining by up to 50% over the past six months, writes Lesley Foottit. Leading scampi suppliers have warned of depleted stocks and imminent price hikes that could last all summer. Scampi, a pub favourite, is particularly affected due to rocketing fuel prices and bad weather off the Scottish coast where scampi fishing is big business. The shortages are also being blamed on EU fishing restrictions and increased demand for whole UK shellfish from other European countries. North Yorkshire’s Whitby Seafoods told M&C Report's sister title Publican’s Morning Advertiser that it would be reviewing prices in the face of a “challenging” market. The company said that scampi volumes are down between 30% and 50%. It recently launched Yorkshire Scampi Bites — a blend of scampi and fish fillets — to combat shortages. “If the prices rise we would have to pass it on to our customers, although I don’t know whether they would still buy it,” said Sarah Jones of Enterprise Inns leased pub the Butchers Arms at Greens Norton, Towcester. The larger pub groups are unfazed by the deficit. A spokesman for JD Wetherspoon said: “There is indeed a shortage, but Wetherspoon is well positioned with the recent launch of the hand-battered, sustainable cod fillets relieving some of the pressure within our menu in terms of demand.” A spokesman for Mitchells & Butlers added: “We have good supply relationships and do not envisage any major problems for our restaurant and pub brands.”