People living next to Europe’s lobster capital have ‘no idea’ where shellfish comes from

NEARLY 40 per cent of people quizzed in an online poll had no idea where the shellfish they eat comes from - despite living next to Europe’s largest lobster fishery.

The survey of nearly 600 people in the East Riding showed over a third ate shellfish once a week and there was appetite for more if they knew how to prepare it and where it came from.

Prawns were the favourite, followed by crab, mussels and lobster.

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The study carried out for the Holderness Coast Fisheries Local Action Group showed volumes of shellfish landed locally are growing steadily - from 2,221 tonnes in 2009 to 3,421 tonnes in 2012, with landings worth a total of £7.5m in 2012. However much of it - 40 per cent of brown crab and nearly 60 per cent of lobster - goes overseas, mainly to France and Spain.

Nearly all the respondents - 96 per cent - said they would buy more if they knew it was caught by local fishermen and was absolutely fresh. Some 98 per cent want to see locally caught seafood labelled as such, and 85 per cent would like to see labels with links to individual skippers and boats.

Ray Williamson from the Flag group said they would be bidding for funds next year to support initiatives to develop the industry. He said the results “highlight the scale and importance of the fishing industry to the local economy but also raise concerns about the lack of awareness of its importance and the local product.”