ACRUNET aims to secure the economic and social viability and sustainability of the European brown crab industry.
The importance of brown crab industry in the Atlantic Area
The distribution of brown crab spans the entire Atlantic Area. While the catching sector is concentrated mainly in the UK, Ireland and France, both France and Spain play a huge role in the distribution and buying of brown crab once it’s landed. Processing and value adding activities are spread across the whole region.
A robust brown crab resource exists with a fleet that is equipped to catch and land crab to buyers and processors feeding into a predominantly European market. In 2009 brown crab landings from the UK (56%), Ireland (15%) and France (13%) accounted for 33,000 tonnes of the total European landings of 39,000 tonnes, valued at €66,000,000 at the first point of sale. Further value accrues to the countries of the Atlantic Area from these landings through transport, holding facilities and processing and while there are no definitive figures available on the total economic value added through these activities it is reasonable to assume that the total is somewhere between 2 and 3 times the landed value, giving a values between €130 and €200 million.
Issues faced by the industry and cooperation
However a number of challenges face the industry across the Member States such as increasing fuel prices, diminishing demand on European markets, competition from cheaper non EU imports and quality issues. This has forced the industry in the UK and Ireland to take a transnational approach to these issues and to attempt to address these issues through dialogue and co-operation. In taking this initiative, albeit on an ad hoc basis, it was acknowledged that a lack of trust and competition between countries was further hampering the economic viability of the sector in the face of exogenous challenges. The project proposes a formalised transnational approach to catching, transport processing and selling of brown crab, a common Atlantic area resource. Managing the crab resource of the Atlantic Area requires a level of cooperation and cohesiveness in its objectives that at present does not exist. Only through agreed aims and objectives can the resource be managed to its optimal potential in a sustainable way.
The project through transnational cooperation will address the following objectives:
- To form a transnational industry network to identify and address factors to improve brown crab competitiveness through co-operation, communication and innovation.
- To build an industry science interface with an agreed policy for assessment and monitoring that feed into management and policy at national, regional and EU level.
- To develop and encourage the widespread adoption of an accredited European brown crab standard to deliver a responsibly caught, quality product to the market place.
- Increase economic viability of entire sector through analysis of the brown crab production chain and improving competitive advantage through the identification of key cost points
- Enhance competitiveness through the introduction of innovative practices and products informed by the production chain analysis
- To increase the market presence and visibility of brown crab through focused European marketing and consumer education