Tuesday, 10 December 2019

Questions (469)

Martin Ferris

Question:

469. Deputy Martin Ferris asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the efforts being made to ensure live crab exports to China will resume as soon as possible; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51190/19]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The Sea Fisheries Protection Authority, SFPA, issued a notice to trade on 21 November 2019 setting out the changes that will be implemented in December to transition to the application of new requirements for the certification of Irish crab exports, including under Regulation (EU) 2017/625. The SFPA has statutory responsibility for seafood safety controls and the enforcement of seafood safety law. While I, as Minister, retain the power to give general policy directives, that power is qualified. I am precluded by statute from interfering in the performance by the SFPA of a function assigned to it or exercising any power or control in relation to individual or groups of cases with which the Authority may be concerned.

On 28 November 2019, I arranged a briefing session for Oireachtas members where officials from my Department briefed a number of deputies on the current status regarding the Irish Crab Exports. On the same day I discussed the issues with the National Inshore Fisheries Forum, the representatives of the inshore fishing industry for whom crab is an important source of income, during our meeting. The SFPA was also present at the meeting and dealt directly with questions on the certification issues.

I have led two Trade Missions to China this year to strengthen and develop the existing important relationships between both countries. Bord Bia has implemented a series of instore retail promotions in core European markets in 2019 to drive sales of Irish brown crab in Europe. Targeted trade show initiatives have been led by Bord Bia around Europe to maintain and enhance Irish crab opportunities in the core European markets including France and Spain. In 2020, Bord Bia will increase the pace of its promotional activities in its core European markets whilst, at the same time, continuing with its efforts across a range of emerging markets for Irish brown crab across Asia.