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ACRUNET – a Network Solution for the European Brown Crab Industry

The Atlantic Crab Resource Users Network (ACRUNET), funded by INTERREG IVB Atlantic Area Transnational Programme to the tune of €2.2 million, was launched by Mr Kieran Calnan, Chairman of Bord Iascaigh Mhara on Thursday, 11th October 2012. The 15 partners representing Ireland, the United Kingdom, France, Spain and Portugal held a two-day “kick-off” meeting in Clontarf Castle to map out the work they need to tackle to ensure a viable, sustainable and profitable future for the brown crab industry Europe-wide.

The thrust of ACRUNET comes from the network which has grown up from a series of meetings held over the past three years between crab fishermen from Ireland, Scotland, England and France who felt their industry was being undermined by rising costs and a dwindling consumer base, particularly in France – the single most important outlet for crab. They were facilitated by their representative bodies, Killybegs Fishermen’s Organisation(KFO) in Ireland, the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation, the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations and the Shellfish Association of Great Britain in the UK and the French fishermen’s umbrella organisation, Comité National des Pêches Maritimes et des Elevages Marins. The efforts of the fishermen are supported by the development, marketing and scientific bodies in all five countries. Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) has undertaken the role of project management while the network coordination is lead by KFO.

Norah Parke, Crab Co-ordinator with KFO, described ACRUNET as “probably the most important development in the brown crab industry both for Irish fishermen and their UK and French colleagues”. She went on to say “This project is unique and innovative because it has been driven by the fishing industry itself and, as such, has a better than average chance of long-term success. The crabbing sector is aware of the dangers posed by a rapidly changing market place and the threats of cheaper products worldwide and believes in confronting these challenges with this ambitious range of activities which will ensure good scientific advice, internationally recognised standards and an efficient, economic route to market”.

Brown crab is an important species in Ireland with landings in excess of 8,500 tonnes in 2010 worth around €12 million; the fishery extends around the coast from the south-east to the north-west and supports an extensive range of shore-based industries from crab processing, gear manufacture and repair to the supply of highly specialised vivier transport which delivers live crab to the furthest reaches of Europe. This project will combine the skills of fishermen and their national agencies, pooling resources and knowledge to create a new approach to exploiting a common resource in a rational, sustainable and enduring manner

For further information contact:
Norah Parke
Killybegs Fishermen’s organisation Ltd
Phone: +353 74 973 1089
Mob: +353 87 9055414

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