commission nwwac brown crab advice

The Commission has written to the NWWAC to confirm that they will be taking the organisation’s advice on brown crab

The European Commission has written to the North West Waters Advisory Council (NWWAC) to confirm that they will be taking the organisation’s advice on brown crab.

One of those recommendations is the development of a joint group to manage the North Sea crab stocks.

In its advice the NWWAC recommended

  • The individual vessel sectors, including both inshore (<12 metre) and offshore, of the brown crab industry, with regard to both fisheries and markets, cannot be dealt with in isolation. The fisheries now include substantial areas of the North Sea and mainland Europe is a major hub for landing and exporting, particularly live crab. As soon as possible, management measures will have to be developed on an appropriate scale in order to respond to the challenges posed by the different areas and fishing fleets.
  • A major issue for exporters to China and other Asian countries is the difference in regulation regarding heavy metals, particularly cadmium. This applies to all the exporting countries but Ireland, the UK and France have been individually excluded from Chinese markets for lengthy periods while Health Certificates and monitoring programmes are negotiated and renegotiated. This situation creates enormous uncertainty along the entire supply chain and must be addressed. 
  • Strategies are needed, and fall-back plans must be developed to protect stakeholders when unforeseen events bring their industry to a standstill.

The background to the NWWAC advice came about to address issues that are common to all brown crab stakeholders.

In her letter to the Chariman of the NWWAC, DG MARE, Director General,  Charlina Vitcheva said:

“Let me also assure you that, whilst not managed by an annual TAC at EU level, the Commission fully recognises that brown crab is of great importance as a fishery. 

“Therefore, we are in agreement that the stock should continue to be managed in a sustainable manner and we thus support and count on the work done by the Advisory Councils in recent years. 

“The development of a joint group with the North Sea is a commendable idea and I will instruct my services to participate wherever possible. Whilst there are indeed some management measures already in place at the European level, such as an effort regime and minimum sizes, the Commission would welcome further measures to be developed through the regionalisation process. 

“Depending on the nature of your recommendations, this would most likely involve the drafting of a Joint Recommendation from the relevant Member States regional groups. 

“Thus, I would strongly advise that the Advisory Councils also invite representatives from the Member States to attend future meetings on brown crab management.

“On the subject of joint management with the United Kingdom, it is indeed too soon to tell what our future relationship will look like. 

“However, I can assure you that the management of non-TAC stocks, such as brown crab are also important for us. Joint management for the future continues to be a key subject for our negotiation team. 

“I read with concern your report on the difficulties individual Member States are experiencing with the export and trade of brown crab, particularly with China. I will communicate your concerns to my colleagues in DG TRADE, who may wish to contact you further on this issue.”


Brian J McMullin Solicitors
MMG Welding Killybegs

European Commission replies to NWWAC advice on brown crab

by editor time to read: 6 min