10 June 2019

− The Nyetimber Dorset Seafood Festival showcases British Brown Crab at this year’s festival −

The award-winning Nyetimber Dorset Seafood Festival, now in its 12th year, takes place on the 13th and 14th July, along Weymouth’s delightful and historic harbour. The free-to-attend festival is the largest Seafood Festival in the UK and offers over 100 stands and incredible chef demos from the country’s top chefs, all paired with the best English sparkling wine—Nyetimber. Always keen to highlight the importance of sustainability, the Festival is focusing on Brown Crab, also known as ‘edible crab’, for 2019.

Weymouth’s 17th-century harbour has provided an ideal platform for a significant and thriving fishing fleet, which is still prospering today, albeit in a smaller way. Fishing around the Dorset coast is concentrated during March to October, with many small vessels targeting Brown Crab and lobster during the summer months. Over 500 tonnes of Brown Crab are landed in Weymouth every year, at a value of around £1 million pounds.

Brown Crab and crab meat is a great nutritional option for dinner time as it’s low in calories, high in protein and offers a range of essential and beneficial vitamins and minerals. It contains a superior source of omega 3 polyunsaturated acids and contains almost as much protein per 100g as meats, without anywhere near the same levels of saturated fat. The protein found in crab is of high quality and is very digestible because of a lack of connective tissue.  The Nyetimber Dorset Seafood Festival is looking to educate festival-goers on the benefits of eating this delicious crab, as well as wonderful ways to prepare and enjoy it! 

Mike Warner, Seafood Sustainability Consultant, comments: “In Dorset there are four full-time boats, operated by a dozen or so part-timers that land Brown Crab; the quality is second to none and regularly and seasonally graces many Dorset and London restaurants. Its provenance and traceability remain extremely respected, and demand is huge with approximately 500 tonnes harvested annually.”

The traditional potting method for catching crab is still prevalent, however the numbers of pots used has increased with a growing and insatiable demand for Brown Crab from China, worth an estimated £50m annually. With such international demand it is little wonder that prices have increased recently.   

Local fishmongers ‘Weyfish’, situated on the harbour and owned by Sean Cooper, has embraced the fishing community, revitalising a traditional fishmongering business and injecting renewed passion and commitment into the industry.

Sean Cooper, owner Weyfish commented: “Brown Crab is probably the most popular species that we sell at Weyfish. Brought from ‘pot to plate’ in just a matter of hours, the quality and integrity of the product is a given. Versatile, flavoursome, healthy and eminently nutritious, Brown Crab remains very much a traditional ‘fast food’ being easier to prepare than most people realise.”

Nigel Bloxham of the Crab House Café will be demoing at the festival and highlighting the ‘crab market situation’ in which the Chinese market is paying a lot for brown crab and the price has doubled in the last 18 months. This is  great for fishermen but, not for the consumer.

Spicy Baked Crab – from Nigel Bloxham’s Crab House Café: Simple Rustic Recipes from Dorset’s Famous Seafood Restaurant


225g (8oz) brown crab meat (you can change this – all white meat or all brown meat, whichever you prefer but about 1lb in weight)

550g béchamel white sauce

115g (4oz) grated cheese (cheddar)

1 red pepper, diced

1 green pepper, diced

2 tbsp English mustard

2 tbsp chilli sauce or Tabasco

½ tsp Worcester sauce

½ tsp salt

Good pinch of white pepper


  1. Mix the cheese into the béchamel sauce along with the salt, mustard and Worcester sauce
  2. Stir in finely diced red and green peppers, the crab meat and leave to cool

To serve:

  1. Fill either crab shells or scallop shells and place on top shelf of oven and bake until brown on top, about 12-15 minutes, and serve. A great supper dish with pitta bread and salad

The Nyetimber Dorset Seafood Festival aims to educate visitors on how to buy and eat responsibly sourced seafood, and for 2019 the emphasis is going to be on the locally landed Brown Crab and the role it plays in the prosperity and heritage of the harbour. Seasoned chefs from around the UK will be showcasing the fresh picked meat of this fabulous crustacean, in both its snowy white and buttery brown forms, in recipes to both inspire the unwary and to delight the aficionado.

These days, crab is much more than just a sandwich…

Read the full press release here

SEAFEAST - The Dorset Seafood Festival raises funds for the Fishermen's Mission - the vital port of call for fishermen and their families.
Fishermen's Mission