The award of Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) provided by EU law in 2011, to ‘Lough Neagh Eel’ is regarded by the local industry as a significant accolade recognising the heritage, tradition and authenticity of what are regarded as the best quality eel available in Europe.
It distinguishes Lough Neagh Eel as an unique food item alongside the food elite of Europe, such as Parma Ham, Champagne and Feta Cheese. Other Northern Irish produce to have been awarded PGI are Comber Early potatoes and Armagh Bramley Apples.
Lough Neagh Eel is renowned for its texture and flavour, a direct result of the eels natural diet that includes invertebrates, which are indigenous to the lough. The larval stage of this fly are a high value food source that contributes to the unique fat content of Lough Neagh Eel. For over 50 years we have been marketing Lough Neagh Eels in Europe and have a strong reputation for quality and reliability of supply. The main markets are England, Holland and Germany.
We are keenly aware of the importance to modern consumers of the credentials and traceability of their food purchases. The PGI status is a valuable asset in the promotion of our indigenous Lough Neagh Eel. Equally, our fishermen can be proud that the work traditions, from which they and their forefathers have earned their livelihood, has been so highly acknowledged.
Another indigenous species, Lough Neagh Pollan, was registered as a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) in 2018. Lough Neagh Pollan are produced, processed and prepared in Lough Neagh using traditional production methods. The quality and characteristics of Lough Neagh Pollan are due exclusively to Lough Neagh.
Pollan are the only European vertebrate found uniquely in Ireland and their distribution is restricted to only 5 Irish loughs. They are only commercially available from Lough Neagh. Lough Neagh Pollan are a genetically unique variant of Irish Pollan.
The listing of Lough Neagh Pollan as a unique food item, from one single source is fitting for this very distinctive fish species. The accolade is just reward for the fishermen of Lough Neagh, They work diligently, using sustainable, traditional fishing methods to maintain a viable future for both the species and the industry.