The Lobster Claw Band that Says Wales

As part of the new phase of the Banding and Branding project led by the Welsh seafood Cluster, Welsh lobsters now have branded Claw Bands, to make them stand out from their competitors, that makes them instantly recognisable by Chefs and Consumers alike, as a Welsh product.

The scheme, coordinated by The Wales Seafood Cluster, will enable chefs to identify Welsh lobsters by checking for the new, distinct, white bands that cover the claws, definitively showing that the shellfish has been caught in Welsh waters, and sustainably caught by Welsh fishermen.

The development of the new bands followed requests by a group of Welsh fishermen to develop the domestic market. Prior to the pandemic, approximately 90% of Welsh lobsters were exported, but now it is hoped that the domestic market can learn more about the properties of Welsh seafood, especially lobsters, increasing the demand for them across the UK.

Nia Griffith, North Wales Seafood Cluster Manager, Cywain, said:

“The Lobster Banding and Branding project is now in its second phase following the success of the pilot project during 2020. The branded #WelshSeafood bands are placed on the claws of lobsters caught in Welsh waters by Welsh vessels, destined for the UK Domestic market. By using the #WelshSeafood hashtag, which consumers can follow on social media, they can also share their pictures and recipes and become a part of the story of Welsh Seafood.

By buying a branded Welsh lobster, consumers and chefs can be assured that the fishers who have caught the lobsters have done so sustainably. Each fisher within the project has pledged to re-introduce berried-hens (female lobsters that have eggs) into the sea to reproduce, and also to use escape hatches within their pots which allows any by-catch or lobsters below the legal landing size to be able to exit the pots.”

Lobster fisherman Sion Williams, from Porth Colmon, added:

“The idea was to be able to market Welsh lobster because we have started to sell more in the UK as opposed to the continent. We needed something that would say Welsh on the actual lobster and the claw band was the result.

“A lot goes into the harvesting of lobster along the Welsh coast on top of the generation-to-generation passing down of knowledge. We fish daily on a small scale and are very sustainable. We promote grading of the catch and provide escape gaps to all fishermen so that smaller lobsters can escape. We want to make all lobsters caught under a certain size illegal so that we can actually promote this sustainability.

Chef Ellis Barrie of Anglesey restaurant Marram Grass, said:

“For me Welsh lobster is the best in the world. I couldn’t tell you whether that’s because of the water, the temperature, the fishermen or the way it is handled but I do know that almost all of the catch used to go abroad and was much prized.

“So, to be able to get premium Welsh lobster in a new way that promotes its authenticity, like line-caught sea bass, will go a long way to helping Welsh fishermen promote what they have been doing for generations. Not only does the new claw band promote Welsh seafood but it also indicates superior quality.”