This project aims to use two abundant, sustainable and currently underutilised Cornish species- megrim sole and spider crab - to develop new value-added seafood products.
This study investigated the possibility of, and necessary conditions for, increased domestic demand for two underloved UK-caught species. The concept was born of the recognition from the industry that both Spider Crab and Megrim are abundant yet receive little consumer attention in the UK, and are heavily reliant on export markets. Analysing consumer preferences, political narratives and media commentary, the study suggested a growing appetite within the UK market for alternative, sustainable, British seafood – a shift strengthened by post-Brexit desire to support the UK fishing industry.
This study wanted to ensure that an increase in the domestic supply of both megrim and spider crab would be sustainable. Analysis of existing data suggests a positive trend in megrim stock abundance and a fleet footprint that doesn’t impact environmental designations. For spider crab, despite anecdotal evidence of its seasonal abundance, data surrounding stock health is not as robust as it is for megrim.
Insights from processors and retailers revealed that, in order to drive domestic demand, both species would need to be processed in a way that is convenient to consumers – filleted megrim and pre-picked crab would likely appeal to a wider consumer base. Early product development confirmed that a ‘value added’ product would be popular among consumers. An exploration of alternative names led the Consortium to explore legal avenues to re-naming the species, noting significant consumer preference for the names ‘Cornish Sole’ and ‘Cornish King Crab’. Conclusions from the study would be to further pursue development of a value-added megrim product and to look at opportunities to close the data gap for spider crab with innovative solutions to data collection being suggested by interviewees.
Cornish Fish Producer’s Organisation (CFPO)