AN IRISH fish had been granted special protected status by the European Commission (EC) to reflect its geographical origin.
Lough Neagh Pollan has been awarded protected designation of origin (PDO) status under the EC's Protected Food Scheme.
Pollan, a silver-skinned whitefish, is only found in Lough Neagh, Lough Erne, Lough Allen, Lough Derg and Lough Ree.
However only pollan caught using the traditional draft and gill netting methods and processed at Lough Neagh can be marketed as Lough Neagh Pollan.
The fish is in season during February and March and when cooked, the relatively meaty Lough Neagh Pollan has an earthy aroma and taste.
Delighted to see Lough Neagh Pollan achieve EU protected status. https://t.co/ZwSLVa4SeG
— michelle oneill (@moneillsf) April 18, 2018
Welcoming the announcement, Denis McMahon of Northern Ireland's Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs 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."
PDO is one of three EC designations awarded to promote and protect names of quality regional products.
It ensures that only products genuinely originating in that region can be identified as such.
To be granted PDO status, the entire product must be traditionally and entirely manufactured within the region.
Other products protected by the EC include Waterford Blaa, Clare Island Salmon, Irish Whiskey, Armagh Bramley Apples and Connemara Hill Lamb.