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ACRUNET Goes to Paris – the Hub of the Market

The brown crab project ACRUNET (Atlantic Crab Resource Users Network) held its latest meeting in Paris courtesy of FranceAgriMer. This was a very productive meeting and indicative of the gathering pace of ACRUNET as the various project Activities begin to evolve and complement each other. Commenting after the event Dominique Schnabele said: “FranceAgriMer was very happy to welcome the partners for a fruitful working session. The atmosphere among the participants was productive and relaxed. It was really gratifying to see the activities developing and harmonising. And we enjoyed a nice evening tasting brown crab, at last!”

The development of a European Seafood Standard specifically for brown crab is now more than an aspiration – considerable progress has been made on reviewing existing standards in the partner countries and a combined version which would encompass the most desirable elements of existing models is being constructed. Reflecting the demands of both retailers and consumers, ACRUNET is eager that this deliverable will be accredited to the highest possible international standard.

The partners learned that the crab producing countries – UK, Ireland and France – have been busy in the past months consulting with the various industry sectors; fishermen, exporters and processors have all contributed to this process. The opinions and data gathered have gone a long way to building up a comprehensive picture which will inform the industry analysis being carried out which, in turn, will prove invaluable to the partners carrying out the market research and, ultimately, consumer-focused education and promotion.

Transporting live crab from peripheral fishing grounds to markets in France, Spain and Portugal has always been one of the more challenging aspects of the industry; ACRUNET will carry out a monitoring programme during the coming year to identify the critical “squeeze” points and possible solutions to improve the quality of delivered crab and thereby improve financial viability for the sector. Of course this work will also reflect favourably on efforts to improve fishery sustainability and environmentally sound exploitation of an Atlantic Area natural resource.

Initial responses to questionnaire-based research by FranceAgriMer reveals that the industry still favours marketing efforts focused in Europe; not surprisingly, the UK and French responses indicated a need for increased marketing effort in their domestic markets. The FranceAgriMer-led marketing
campaign will be pursued in the short term with an emphasis on engaging with younger consumers, highlighting not only the health benefits of eating crab but its ease of preparation and its excellent environmental credentials.

The partners reviewed the ACRUNET website, which will be available in English, French, Spanish and Portuguese, and have made some observations which will be incorporated prior to it being launched in the very near future. The project Newsletter will be available on the web-site at that point. The partners agreed that communication and information items, particularly when produced for industry, should be available in the partner languages.

The next meeting of the ACRUNET partner organisations will take place in Vigo in October 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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