CONSUMERS in North Wales are clamouring for Welsh crab, following a lockdown collaboration created by two seafood businesses.
Award-winning producer Môn Dressed Crab has joined forces with Llandudno wholesaler and fishmonger, Mermaid Seafoods, to expand the home market for Welsh crab.
The businesses are members of the Wales Seafood Cluster, a Cywain-led project which encourages and facilitates collaborative working among companies and individuals in the seafood industry.
One of the aims of the Seafood Cluster is to bring together fishermen, fishmongers and aquaculture businesses that have an ambition to grow. The Cluster can also provide support for businesses through training, attending trade events and offer access to tailored one to one support.
North Wales Seafood Cluster Manager, Nia Griffith, said, “The past year has been particularly tough for fishermen and smaller producers in the seafood industry. However, many have adapted the way they operate and have been innovative in their marketing. We hope this enterprising spirit will continue to reap additional benefits.
“The Cluster is dedicated to adding value to Welsh Seafood caught or farmed on Welsh shores by encouraging businesses to work collaboratively, and sharing knowledge and resources.
“This collaboration between Môn Dressed Crab and Mermaid Seafoods is a great example of the Cluster working in practice, as by working together, they have expanded their customer base and proved that there is an increasing demand for Welsh crab and seafood.”
MÔN DRESSED CRAB
For a small family business reliant on supplying local restaurants and eateries, the advent of Covid-19 proved difficult for Môn Dressed Crab.
However, working with one of the largest fresh fish and seafood suppliers in Wales has provided a boost for the Anglesey business formed five years ago by Tracey Hodson.
Covid-19 restrictions saw Môn Dressed Crab’s trade with restaurants and eateries stop overnight. While sales to existing fishmonger clients have continued, Tracey sought other outlets and began selling direct to the public.
She also turned to fellow Seafood Cluster member, Mermaid Seafoods – creating a collaboration that has enabled her business to weather the current storm better.
Tracey said, “It’s great, Mermaid takes crab off me every week. It’s carried on steadily throughout the winter too, which as a small company isn’t usually such a good time for us, so working with Mermaid has really been a great help.”
Tracey buys crabs from local fishermen and processes them at her unit in Church Bay. They are crabs that don’t usually go for export, so there is no waste from the catch.
A Great Taste Award-winner, Môn Dressed Crab’s collaboration with Mermaid Seafoods has been encouraged by the Seafood Cluster.
Tracey said, “The Cluster is always there if I need anything, any advice or help. They are always in touch and particularly so throughout the whole pandemic.”
Family-run Mermaid Seafoods has been supplying fresh fish and seafood for more than 30 years.
Established by the Wright family, the company operates from a state-of-the-art shop in Llandudno, with a customer-based across North Wales and beyond.
Mermaid’s manager, Sonya Jones, says working with Môn Dressed Crab has benefitted both businesses, as demand has steadily grown for local crab.
Sonya said, “Tracey got in touch with us at the start of lockdown. We started selling her local crab, and sales increased week on week.
“It has been fantastic; the crab is very popular. I think people prefer having local crab, and when I put it on Facebook that we have had a delivery, we sell out.
“I think we have gained customers because of Môn Dressed Crab, some of whom have then gone on to buy other fish and seafood too.”
A member of the Seafood Cluster, Mermaid, has embraced its collaborative ethos.
“The Cluster has helped us a lot over the years with re-branding and attendance at food events. It was the Cluster who originally put us in touch with Môn Dressed Crab, so when Tracey contacted us, we thought it would be good to help.”