Scotland seeks protected status for Orkney crab
An application is being lodged to gain European protection for Orkney crab, announced Scottish Fisheries Secretary Richard Lochhead at an inshore fisheries conference.
The Orkney Islands, off the northeast coast of Scotland, is one of the biggest processors of brown crab in the United Kingdom. The application will be subject to a national consultation in line with the rules of the EU Protected Food Name (PFN) scheme, which was introduced in 1994 to protect food names on the basis of geographical or traditional recipes.
“Scotland is world-famous for our wonderful food and drink and Orkney crab is well known throughout the food industry for its high quality. It’s great news that Orkney crab has applied for protected status which could help guarantee the quality and reputation of this iconic product,” said Lochhead.
“It is extremely important for the public to know where their food comes from. Achieving PFN status will ensure that customers from both Scotland and further afield can be guaranteed that what they are buying is genuine, high quality crab from Orkney.”
Orkney’s seafood industry has worked very hard for a number of years to build the reputation of its crab, starting from its fishermen and the care and pride they take in their job, to its processing factories and its customers, said Stewart Crichton of the Orkney Fisherman’s Society.
“Protecting the integrity of that brand is the next logical step in the process and one we’re delighted to be embarking on,” said Crichton.
At the conference, Lochhead also set out the Scottish Government’s new inshore fisheries strategy, which will improve the evidence base on which fisheries management decisions are made, streamline fisheries governance and embed inshore fisheries management into wider marine planning.
“Inshore fishing is vitally important to the Scottish economy and supports many remote communities. Our inshore fishermen provide some of the best seafood in the world, and in Scotland’s year of food and drink our high quality seafood is continuing to enhance its global reputation for quality and provenance with excellent prospects for continued growth.
“My ambition is to build a more sustainable, profitable and well-managed inshore fisheries sector. I want to see a healthy and productive marine environment, one where thriving fishing businesses work alongside other marine users in resilient coastal communities, and where young people view fishing as an attractive career prospect. I believe this new strategy will help set us on the road to achieving this,” said the minister.
Shellfish are highly important to the Orkney economy, with local fishermen catching around GBP 7 million (EUR 9.5 million; USD 10.7 million) worth of products annually.