salmon and trout caught using a prehistoric fishing method could join Melton Mowbray pork pies and Scotch beef in getting special EU protection.

Welsh smoked fish processor Cnwd, working in conjunction with fishermen, is in the final stages of submitting two Protected Geographical Indication applications to the EU one for West Wales Coracle Caught Salmon and one for West Wales Coracle Caught Sewin (sea trout).

The wild fish are traditionally caught using a coracle - a small, dome-shaped boat - by ‘coraclemen’ working in pairs.

ADAS, which processes EU-protected food name applications under contract from Defra, said it expected the PGI applications to go to national consultation - the first official stage in the process of gaining protection - by the autumn. It could then take up to two years to secure PGI status.

PGI status would bring recognition to both a quality product and an ancient fishing method, said an ADAS spokeswoman. “If the applications prove to be successful, they will become a valuable asset for the Welsh food and drink industry.”

The fish are only available in small quantities because of the catching method, and retail at about £80 per kg, but Cnwd MD Kirsty Manning said she hoped PGI status would help increase distribution. “We hope that the PGI will create demand and increase the market for this type of fish” she said, adding that she hoped greater recognition would help secure the industry’s future.

Cnwd supplies the salmon and sewin into Fortnum & Mason, local fishmongers and London delicatessens. It also sells the fish online.

The fish are caught on the Towy, the Teifi and the Taf and the fish is traceable back to the river where it was caught and fisherman who caught it, via a tag.