Brown crab fishery. (Photo: BIM)
New network launched to support brown crab industry
REPUBLIC OF IRELAND
Friday, October 12, 2012, 23:40 (GMT + 9)
The Atlantic Crab Resource Users Network (ACRUNET) was officially launched this week, in Clontarf Castle, Dublin.
The project, to be led by the Irish Fisheries Board (BIM), is approved by the Atlantic Area Transnational Cooperation Programme 2007-13 with funds of over EUR 1.4 million to BIM to lead the project, representing a co-financing rate of 65 per cent to the total eligible costs, amounting to over EUR 2.2 million. BIM is working in partnership with fishery organisations and agencies from the UK, France, Portugal, Spain and Ireland.
Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Simon Coveney, TD voiced his support for the project.
“This is an extremely important development for the European brown crab fishery. This collective approach will enable fishery representatives and agencies to work collectively to overcome key issues in the sector to enhance competitiveness and increase profits,” he stated.
|Pictured at the launch of the ACRUNET project in Clontarf Castle are Jacques Person, CPMEM (Comité de Peche, France), Kieran Calnan, BIM Chairman and Norah Parkes, Killybegs Fishermen's Organisation. (Photo: BIM)
Ireland’s brown crab fishery is worth an estimated EUR 12 million per year with landings of over 8,500 tonnes in 2010. The catching sector is concentrated mainly in the UK, Ireland and France, but both France and Spain play a significant role in the crab’s buying and distribution.
In 2009, brown crab landings from the UK (56 per cent), Ireland (15 per cent) and France (13 per cent) accounted for 33,000 tonnes of the total European landings of 39,000 tonnes, valued at EUR 66,000,000 at the first point of sale.
ACRUNET has come about at a time when it could help brown crab fishers struggling with increasing fuel costs, competition from cheaper non-EU imports and quality issues. Another problem across Europe is a lack of trust and competition between countries that is further hampering the viability of the sector.
ACRUNET aims to fix this through transnational co-operation and the implementation of key deliverables.
Included in the targets of the programme is the stabilisation in market price in the short-term through the management of the shared resource to meet market demand. Another key deliverable is the establishment of a European brown crab quality standard backed by scientific evaluations, accredited to ISO 9000 and IS0 65.
Greater communication and an economic analysis of route to market structures will be made, as well as new innovative product formats and cheaper transport options based on technical, market and consumer research to increase sales.
“BIM is delighted to lead such an important project,” said Kieran Calnan, chairman of BIM. “The targets set out by the partners will not only boost sales across Europe but will develop new innovative products and practices that will further modernise the fishery and ensure it remains competitive into the future.”
By Natalia Real