The Cornish fishing industry is set to change the names of two of its most common catches to boost their appeal for British consumers after problems with post-Brexit exports to Europe.
Usually some 95% of megrim fish and 85% of spider crab caught off Cornwall have been exported to Spain, but trade has been disrupted this year by the extra paperwork and border checks demanded after Brexit.
Cornish fishing interests are instead looking to local markets, but the two catches in question have traditionally been less than appetising for British diners.
“There’s this negative thing with megrim – it’s a ‘grim’ connotation,” Paul Trebilcock, chief executive of the Cornish Fish Producers Organisation (CPPO) told The Times.
The spider crab apparently suffers not only because of a potentially off-putting name, but also because of its appearance, with Mr Trebilcock saying it “doesn’t look as pretty as brown crab”, the species more commonly eaten in the UK.
In hope of an image makeover, the CFPO, after consulting consumers, buyers and restaurateurs, is planning to relaunch the two species – with megrim, a flatfish, set to be known as Cornish sole, and spider crabs likely to be rebranded as the Cornish king crab.
It is hoped Cornish sole will become just as popular as its more expensive cousin, Dover sole, while the CFPO is also working with chef James Strawbridge to develop recipes for the rather plan-looking fish and for spider crab, The Times said.
The moves are reminiscent of other changes to fish names to make them sound more appealing. Patagonian toothfish, for example, was changed to become Chilean seabass in the United States and Canada, while orange roughy – also known by the name of slimehead – is now widely known as deep sea perch.