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Lough Neagh Fishermen’s Co-Operative to Develop Value-Added Products

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Lough Neagh Fishermen’s Co-Operative to Develop Value-Added Products

Lough Neagh Fishermen’s Co-Operative to Develop Value-Added Products
September 09
11:50 2014

Lough Neagh Fishermen’s Co-operative in Toome is being assisted by Invest Northern Ireland and DARD through the European Fisheries Fund to invest over £400,000 and provide up to five new jobs in processing eels for export.

The co-operative, which currently employs 16 people, has received assistance of £121,380 from both Invest NI and DARD towards the new manufacturing process for eels which it previously exported live to processors outside Northern Ireland.

The new jobs include a new product development/marketing manager, already in place, and production operatives.

John Hood, Invest NI’s Food and Tourism Director, says: “Lough Neagh eels, which now have EU protected name status, have long been regarded by leading European chefs and high-end food retailers as a delicacy. Until a few months ago, live eels were shipped outside Northern Ireland for added-value processing. This investment by the co-operative focuses on adding value at Toome and the development of quality products aimed in particular at export markets. The co-operative is seeking to build on the existing reputation for quality and outstanding taste of the Lough Neagh eels and will help to ensure that the economic value of this unique natural resource continues to be developed sensitively and harnessed to the benefit of the business and the fishing families who supply the eels.”

Lough Neagh Fishermen’s Co-operative Society was formed in 1965 to manage the fishery and market the eels for the benefit of the co-operative’s members and local fishermen. Live eels are exported to customers in London’s Billingsgate Market and in the Netherlands and northern Germany for processing as smoked eel products.

Lough Neagh Eels gained EU protected geographical indication (PGI) status in September 2011, the first for any food in Northern Ireland.

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