Cromer Crab could join the ranks of Champagne and Stilton - in being awarded the EU’s coveted protected food name status - as early as 2015, if a proposal wins a crucial local vote next month.

A consultation to register Cromer Crab - a type of brown crab captured around the town of Cromer on the north Norfolk coast - was launched last week by the local Fisheries Local Action Group (FLAG).

Local fishermen and processors have until the end of this month to vote and FLAG will count the votes in the first week of September. If a majority vote in favour, the proposal will progress to a FLAG committee vote in October. Products take an average of two years to gain approval.

The consultation has been welcomed by Matthew O’Callaghan, chairman of the UK Protected Food Names Association, who predicted that if an application was made, it would progress quickly. “I have references in cookbooks dating to the early 1800s mentioning Cromer Crab, so I would expect registration should proceed relatively smoothly.”

If Cromer Crab received protected status, it would give it an advantage over crabmeats from Scotland and the South West. It would also give a morale boost to Cromer, after the closure of The Cromer Crab Company site - owned by Young’s Seafood - earlier this year. Cromer Crab only accounted for a minimal amount of business at the site, but it was a major employer.

A decision on whether to apply for PGI or PDO status will also be determined in the September vote.