Irish Salmon is about to be granted protected geographic identification. (Photo: Kenmare/FIS)
'Irish Salmon' may acquire EU protected status
Friday, July 20, 2012, 04:10 (GMT + 9)
The consultation process for "Irish Salmon" to win protected geographical indication (PGI) status under European law was launched this week. Minister for Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD), Michelle O'Neill, announced a national consultation on his department’s plan to register the fish.
Geographical indications are meant to highlight special qualities of the products by noting their origin and authenticity and preserving cultural traditions. Granting this intellectual property protection to Irish Salmon would mean that this name could only be used by makers of the product within a specific region.
“Irish Salmon” is the name given to farmed fresh fish of the anadromous species Salmo salar or Atlantic salmon and does not cover wild salmon. “Irish Salmon” has bluish coloured scales and the same body shape as wild Atlantic salmon.
If the application goes through, the salmon application would mean the term “Irish Salmon” could be used only on superior grade salmon certified to the Irish Quality Salmon Scheme or equivalent. The scheme covers Ireland and Northern Ireland.
“This is the first all-Ireland application for protected name status for a food product,” O’Neill said. “My Department has worked closely with the Department of Agriculture Food and The Marine (DAFM) to get the application to this stage.”
Since July 2011, New Season Comber Potatoes, Lough Neagh Eels and Armagh Bramley Apples have all been granted PGI status. Irish Salmon would join high-quality European products, including Parma ham, Champagne wine and Stilton cheese.
Under this system, a named food or drink registered at a European level receives legal protection against imitation throughout the European Union (EU), BBC reports.
“A product, such as the Irish Salmon, receiving PGI registration would be good news for the agri food sector and would help local suppliers to market the product domestically and further afield, and would also provide protection against imitation,” O’Neill added.
The consultation period lasts 12 weeks ending on 9 October 2012. Anyone with a legitimate interest may lodge an objection in writing.
By Natalia Real