The European Commission has granted protected status to Lough Neagh Pollan fish, the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) announced today.
Lough Neagh Pollan is the fourth product from Northern Ireland to have been recognised as a Protected Food Name (PFN) under EU law. It has become the first to receive the status of Protected Designation of Origin (PDO), which is a more rigorous designation.
PFN status recognises the regional importance and distinctive characteristics of this variety, ensuring that only Pollan produced in Lough Neagh can be marketed as Lough Neagh Pollan. Northern Ireland’s existing three PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) products are New Season Comber Potatoes, Armagh Bramley Apples and Lough Neagh Eels.
Welcoming the decision by the European Commission, DAERA Permanent Secretary, Denis McMahon said: “It is a great achievement for the Lough Neagh Fishermen’s Co-operative Society Ltd to have attained this EC approved quality mark for their produce. This award not only recognises the quality of the Lough Neagh Pollan but also the historical importance of the product to the area with the continued use of traditional methods and sustainable practices.
“NI has a reputation for high quality food and Lough Neagh Pollan are one of many foods that we produce locally. It is fitting that they are being recognised on the international stage.
“While the Armagh Bramley Apples, New Season Comber Potatoes and Lough Neagh Eels have previously achieved European recognition, I hope that Lough Neagh Pollan will encourage other producers to work in partnership with my Department to help them develop applications under the Protected Food Names Scheme.”
Notes to editors:
- The EU Protected Food Names Scheme came into force in 1993. It provides for a system for the protection of food names on a geographical or traditional recipe basis. The designations are Protected Designation of Origin (PDO), Protected Geographical indication (PGI) and Traditional Speciality Guaranteed (TSG). The scheme highlights regional and traditional foods whose authenticity and origin can be guaranteed. Under this system a named food or drink registered at European Level will be given legal protection against imitation. Other protected food and drink products across Europe include Champagne, Parma Ham and Feta Cheese. Lough Neagh Pollan has become the first product in Northern Ireland to secure PDO status and follows in the footsteps of our three PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) products New Season Comber Potatoes, Armagh Bramley Apples and Lough Neagh Eels.
- Lough Neagh Pollan (a member of the Salmon family) are one of only a handful of fish species native to Ireland that have remained here following the extinction impacts of Ice Ages. Pollan are the only European vertebrate found uniquely in Ireland, with Lough Neagh the only lake currently capable of sustaining a viable commercial stock
- Details of the scheme, including a full list of registered products, as well as the detail of the ‘Lough Neagh Pollan’ application can also be found on the EU website http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/quality/
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