Add local brown crabs to your menu, Islanders urged
MOVES need to be taken to make locally-caught brown crab more available and more valued by Islanders, one of Jersey’s leading restaurateurs has said.
Dominic Jones, director of JPRestaurants, which owns a number of businesses including Banjo and Oyster Box, made the comments after it was reported that supplies of brown or ‘chancre’ crab were becoming scarce after the number of the species being caught plummeted.
In letter to the JEP, Mr Jones attributed the local shortage of the highly sought-after crustacean to the Island’s large-scale European export business which leads to around 60% of catches being transported to and sold in France.
And the businessman added that he did not blame fishermen for the practice as their produce often attracted a higher price on the continent and that French people valued the shellfish more. But he is now calling for a drive to make brown crab more locally available by building infrastructure to support the industry.
‘As a community we should be looking at ways to address these challenges. A central processing facility, government-funded or a fishermen’s co-op, and means of preserving fish to address the variations in demand would create a reliable local market for fish and the processing would add value to the catch,’ he said.
‘Freezing is an excellent short-term and healthy preservation method for fish that can be used successfully in many dishes.
‘Hospitality businesses should not be afraid to tell customers why they believe short-term fresh frozen local fish is superior to some imported and farmed fish.
‘Like our continental European neighbours, Islanders should value wild and sustainably caught local fish more highly. This in turn may create a higher price differentiation between imported and local fish, which would also help address the challenges and fund the solutions.’