The Norfolk fishing industry has given a resounding “no” today following a consultation which could have seen Cromer crab achieve EU protected food name status.

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Earlier this year the North Norfolk Fisheries Local Action Group (Flag) received an expression of interest from a local fishing association to apply for the protected status.

And during August four consultation events were held in Wells-next-the-Sea, Sheringham, Cromer and Mundesley where fishermen and processors were given the opportunity to vote - either at the meeting or by post.

A total of 51 votes were collected with just six in favour of the proposal. A further 45 votes were against making an application for the EU protected food name status.

Acting Flag chairman John Lee, a lifelong crab fisherman and North Norfolk District Council cabinet member, confirmed that the group would not be proceeding with the application.

“The name ‘Cromer crab’ refers to a geographical area and I understand that the general feeling was that it would be too difficult to define in which locations crabs had to be caught for them to be defined as a Cromer crab,” he said.

“There was also concern about the costs associated with the monitoring and verification of any such protected food name status.”

But the consultation among the industry flies in the face of a straw poll of public opinion, gauged through an on-line poll on our websites when news of the branding bid broke in August, which had 80pc (124 votes) in favour of the application and 20pc (31 votes) against it.

The decision comes as the town’s now closed crab factory is up for sale, and tomorrow will see more than 200 items of processing machinery being auctioned at the Links Hotel, West Runton.

John Holroyd, managing director of auctioneers Clarke Fussells said about 19 enquiries had so far been received for equipment that was “in very good condition but will sell at a fraction of its original price.”

The factory is also for sale for £1.35m after owners Young’s Seafood announced in May this year that the site would close with production switching to other sites.

● To follow the auction online visit www.clarke-fussells.co.uk or for more information ring 01225 874677.

● See the full story in tomorrow’s EDP.

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