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The ACRUNET Partners Get Down to Business

The Shellfish Association of Great Britain (SAGB), led by Director David Jarrad, hosted a hard-working and productive meeting of the ACRUNET (Atlantic Crab Resource Users Network) partners on 7-8th February at its London headquarters in Fishmonger’s Hall. The historic setting was an inspiring backdrop to this first real working meeting of ACRUNET where the partners outlined their progress and future plans.

The delegates were reminded that ACRUNET, an INTERREG-funded Atlantic Area Transnational project, is primarily an industry-based network which seeks to improve opportunities and financial viability for all sectors – fishermen, merchants and processors. A robust communication system is essential to underpin this aim and will be furthered by the project’s own Factsheet, Newsletter and web-site.* To extend the dialogue of ACRUNET, all stakeholders will be invited to join the network via the web-site; a partners-only section, which will be password protected, will ensure confidentiality in those areas where commercially sensitive information is discussed. The traditional brown crab industry will step into the 21st century and target a new audience through the ever-increasing social media with demonstrations of crab cooking techniques on YouTube, Facebook tips on where to source your freshest, liveliest crab and customer opinion on Twitter!

The ambitious work programme has already kicked-off. Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM), together with Seafish and FranceAgrimer, is developing the elements of a common seafood standard which will stand up to the most stringent scrutiny. Quality assurance and, above all, traceability, will attract new consumers and reverse the downward trend seen in recent years. Increased demand will be supported by improved techniques in transport and handling crab and processing plants will continue to expand the range of delicatessen-style brown crab products which are becoming so popular. Against this vibrant economic background consumers can be confident of product from well-managed sustainable fisheries informed by the work being proposed by the science-based partners located in all the Atlantic Area countries.

Following the ACRUNET meeting Jerry Percy, Chairman of the Crustacea Committee, SAGB, said “It is not often that one gets a coming together of such a diverse group that results not only in open and honest conversation but also with the outcome of an agreed focus on a clear road map for future work, based on mutual understanding and agreement.

I thought that the presentations given by all concerned were outstanding, the contributions from industry both pragmatic and wise and I look forward to continuing this genuinely co-operative approach in future meetings.”

The next meeting of the ACRUNET partner organisations will take place in Paris on 29-30 May 2013.

For further information please contact Norah Parke, ACRUNET Network Coordinator, Killybegs Fishermen’s Organisation Ltd at norakfo@eircom.net or +353 87 9055414/+353 74 9741195

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