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Thousands sign up to save threatened Cromer Crab Company

PUBLISHED: 20:30 08 October 2011 | UPDATED: 20:57 08 October 2011

The North Norfolk News 'Claws Off' campaign to keep the Cromer Crab Company open.
PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

The North Norfolk News 'Claws Off' campaign to keep the Cromer Crab Company open. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

© ARCHANT NORFOLK 2011

Nearly 4,000 people have now signed petitions calling for the Cromer Crab Company factory to stay open, protecting 230 jobs.

Over 1,000 more signatures were collected in the town this morning, Saturday, according to Sam Rushworth, spokesman for the Labour Party’s Keep it Cromer campaign.

And a significant step forward has also been taken to give Cromer crabs the same protection as products like champagne and Melton Mowbray pork pies.

Mr Rushworth said a week-long media focus on the threatened Holt Road factory, including the North Norfolk News’ own Claws Off campaign, had heightened awareness of the battle and among those signing today were tourists who viewed Cromer crabs as an iconic brand.

Cromer town councillors Tim Bartlett and Kate Royall met today with former member John Morgan who had previously done extensive research on gaining Protected Geographical Indication status (PGI) for the Cromer crab.

PGI status protects the names of regional foods and would mean Cromer crabs could not be processed in Grimsby or Scotland, options being considered by factory owners Young’s Seafood who are currently holding a 90-day consultation which could end in the Cromer site’s closure.

Mr Bartlett said they hoped to sound-out fishermen’s groups in the area between Wells and Lowestoft, where Cromer crabs are caught, in order to create an applicant group which could officially apply for PGI status.

And a government offical from Defra - the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs - had offered to visit Cromer later this month to advise interested parties on the application process.

Although it could take up to two years to be fully approved, backers could receive a positive response to their application in the New Year.

Mr Bartlett added that supporters hoped the push for PGI status would be non-political, involving all the town council, plus North Norfolk’s MP and MEP.

* Copies of the petition, which is also available online at www.keepitcromer.co.uk have now been distributed around more than 100 businesses in Cromer

* North Norfolk Radio will broadcast a one-hour special programme on the issue at 1pm on Monday.

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