The reputation of Wales’ thriving food and drink industry has received yet another boost after coracle fishing for sewin was awarded Protected Food Name status by the European Commission.
Under the EU’s protected food name scheme certain food and drink products receive Europe-wide legal protection against imitation and misuse.
The Welsh Government has supported Carmarthen Coracle and Netsmen’s Association over the past four years during the complicated and extensive application process for Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status.
A coracle is a small round boat, similar in shape to half an Easter egg, made traditionally from woven willow or ash and originally covered in animal hide, now covered with a tarred calico or canvas. Unique to coracles, the fishing nets also have to be hand made and the size governed by strict regulations enforced by National Resources Wales (NRW), thus allowing smaller fish to swim through.
The sewin is caught in a 5-month season, starting on the 1st March on the River Tywi and Taf and the 1st April on the River Teifi, with no fishing permitted at weekends.
Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths said:
“I am delighted coracle fishing for sewin has been awarded Protected Geographical Indication status. I would like to offer my congratulations to the Carmarthen Coracle and Netsmen’s Association and I am pleased the Welsh Government was able to support them during the application process.
“Our Protected Food Name basket continues to grow, which is a tribute to the dedication of our producers to quality. This recognition is important because as we prepare for a future outside the EU we will be able to demonstrate to potential new markets that Wales produces a wide range of high quality food and drink products.
Julie Rees, Secretary of Carmarthen Coracle & Netsmen's Association added:
“Coracles have been used to fish the Rivers of West Wales for hundreds of years. To be awarded the PGI status for West Wales Coracle Caught Sewin is a great achievement for our small group of coracle fishermen. We are also proud that the old tradition and heritage of Coracle fishing has been acknowledged and would like to thank the Welsh Government for their help and support offered throughout the long process”.