Shellfish interests from across England, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Channel Islands met…
ACRUNET 6th Partner Meeting in Lisbon
A very successful meeting of the ACRUNET (Atlantic Crab Resource Users Network) was held at the end of June in Lisbon, Portugal. The meeting was hosted by the Portuguese ACRUNET partner, the Institute for the Sea and Atmosphere, (IPMA), at one of its local facilities.
The meeting took place over two days; there were intensive focus group meetings on the morning of Day 1 which gave the delegates an opportunity to get caught up on their individual area of interest before going on to the more integrated business of ACRUNET for the following day and a half.
ACRUNET is now entering its final year and it was evident from the tone and content of the presentations and discussions that many of the ACRUNET activities are now reaching completion. It was interesting to note that in many cases the tasks undertaken by ACRUNET had themselves opened up new areas for investigation such as further refinements on live brown crab transport systems and ways to quantify brown crab quality.
Managing brown crab fisheries is still high on the ACRUNET agenda. Comité National des Pêches (CNPMEM) gave the industry-focused group a detailed report on the management system employed in France. This approach is based on local committees, supported by fishermen, which are empowered to make regulations reflecting local conditions resulting in a more predictable and stable system. CNPMEM appreciates that national legislation may prevent this approach in other partner countries but feels ACRUNET must explore other management options to reach the objective of controlling fishing effort.
In the meantime, the ACRUNET fisheries management Activity remains focused on assessing the extent and impact of latent effort. Fishermen from Ireland and the UK feel any improvements in other areas of the industry could be undermined by the easy access of an unknown number of additional vessels to the sector and, at the very least, industry should be able to quantify this threat.
The delegates were delighted to hear the European Brown Crab Standard continues to make progress; on this occasion they were able to vote on the format of a guide on quality and handling, being produced in all four Atlantic Area languages, specifically tailored for fishermen and brown crab handlers. The process of auditing the selected vessels has also been agreed and this process should be completed by autumn 2014.
The Activities concerned with industry analysis, consumer education and marketing, while distinct in their approach, are closely linked in the output of results. Innovative marketing materials, which are specifically designed to appeal to a younger consumer, are now available in the project languages and can be used in local and national advertising and marketing campaigns. ACRUNET aims to produce a communications strategy which will provide strategic recommendations for Communications in partner countries and formulate appropriate consumer messages.
Trials on live brown crab transport options continue under the guidance of the University of Hull and there was considerable interest from the industry partners on how soon and at what cost they would be able to implement the outcomes. ACRUNET has also facilitated some advances on better utilisation of crab waste and partners are hopeful that this area will continue to develop.