The NFFO was part of the Atlantic Crab Resources Users Network (ACRUNET), a project to support and promote the brown crab industry. The project includes 15 different partners from across the UK, Ireland, France, Spain and Portugal.

The brown crab catching sector is concentrated mainly in the UK, Ireland and France, but France and Spain play a huge role in the distribution and buying of brown crab once it is 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. Brown crab landings from the UK (56%), Ireland (15%) and France (13%) account for around 85% of the total European landings with an estimated value of around €65,000,000 at the first point of sale. Further value accrues to the countries of the project area from these landings through transport, holding facilities and processing but, compared with similar artisanal, quality seafood, the market is under-exploited and suffers from frequent gluts with consequent uncertain prices to fishermen. In recent years these factors have all been worsened by rising fuel costs, increased regulation, quality issues, cheaper imports of similar substitute products and a major financial crisis in the traditional European markets.

These challenges are transnational and need to be tackled on a transnational basis.

Building on the informal transnational network which has grown between industry representatives, trade and state agencies in recent years, the ACRUNET partners aim to address the problems facing the brown crab industry with the following objectives:

• Form a transnational industry network to address the challenges

• Build an industry/science interface to improve and inform management of the resource

• Develop an accredited European brown crab standard to convey assurance on responsible fishing, traceability and quality products

• Improve the resilience and sustainability of brown crab production and consumption in Europe

• Enhance competitiveness through the introduction of innovative practices and products

• Increase the market presence and visibility of brown crab through focused European marketing and

• Consumer education

The project has been in operation since 2012 and concludes in 2015.

Further details can be found on the ACRUNET project website.