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European Brown Crab Industry to Benefit from €2.2 Million Development Programme

12 October 2012

IRELAND - ACRUNET (Atlantic Crab Resource Users Network), a transnational approach to Competitiveness and Innovation in the Brown Crab Industry was officially launched yesterday (11 October), in Clontarf Castle, Dublin.

The project, to be led by BIM, in partnership with fishery representative organisations and agencies from the UK, France, Portugal, Spain and Ireland is approved by the Atlantic Area Transnational Cooperation Programme 2007-2013 with a maximum co-financing cost of over €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 €2.2 million.

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Mr. Simon Coveney, T.D. announced 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. Ireland, like our European neighbours has suffered from many economic restraints in recent years and I am pleased to see that the initiatives set out by the programme are market focused to increase revenue for the sector including the adoption of an accredited European standard to deliver responsibly caught, quality brown crab to the marketplace. I would like to congratulate BIM as lead partner, the Killybegs Fishermen’s Organisation, Marine Institute, Bord Bia and all the international partners involved for developing this ambitious programme."

Ireland’s brown crab fishery is worth an estimated €12 million annually with landings of over 8,500 tonnes recorded in 2010 (latest figures). While the catching sector is concentrated mainly in the UK, Ireland and France, both France and Spain play a major role in the buying and distribution of brown crab once it’s landed.

ACRUNET has come about at an important time as like other fisheries, brown crab fishermen struggle with increasing fuel costs, competition from cheaper non EU imports and quality issues. It was acknowledged across Europe that a lack of trust and competition between countries was further hampering the viability of the sector. The programme aims to rectify this situation through transnational co-operation and the implementation of key deliverables over the course of the programme.

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 progressed as well as new innovative product formats and cheaper transport options based on technical, market and consumer research to ultimately increase sales.

Kieran Calnan, Chairman of BIM added: "BIM is delighted to lead such an important project. 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. On behalf of BIM, I would like to thank all the partners involved for their continued dedication to the project".

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