Food Minister confers smoked fish honour on Grimsby –

Food Minister confers smoked fish honour on Grimsby Published:  17 November, 2009

GRIMSBY ‘s traditional smoked fish officially received international culinary recognition today.

Following a 10-year-long campaign, that unique product has been ranked in the same super food and drink league as Champagne, Parma Ham, fine Cognac, Cornish Clotted Cream, Stilton Cheese .

Traditional Grimsby Smoked Fish has been granted Protected Geographical Indication – or PGI – status under European Union law which means that any pretenders will be prosecuted.

Today, the Food Minister Jim Fitzpatrick travelled up from London to confer the honour on the last four companies still producing traditional Grimsby smoked fish. They are Alfred Enderby Ltd, Atkinson Fish Merchants, G.H. Abernethie and MTL Fish Curers.

The process involves leaving fish fillets for 16 hours or more in smokehouse chimneys rather than for three hours in a modern stainless steel kiln, the method used by companies mass producing for the supermarkets.

But the business could be heading back to growth with the news that other firms on the docks are preparing to join the club.

It was over a decade ago that Richard Enderby, head of Alfred Enderby Ltd and David Robinson, food town officer with North East Lincolnshire Council, began their fight to gain PGI status.

Paying tribute to their dogged determination, Steve Norton, chief executive of the Grimsby Fish Merchants Association, said this was an important part of the local food cluster, generating £10-million a year for the local economy and sustaining over 50 jobs.

He added that it was time for Grimsby to be rebranded the centre of Europe’s seafood processing industry.

Mr Fitzpatrick told a large gathering of local fishing leaders : “We have been waiting patiently for Traditional Grimsby Smoked Fish to be recognised as a quality, protected product. “