Tuesday, 10 December 2019

Ceisteanna (471)

Charlie McConalogue


471. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the steps he is taking to maintain the exports of Irish brown crab to the Chinese market in view of the fact fishermen rely on this species for an income (details supplied); the reason the Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority, SFPA, changed the procedure for the Irish sector by insisting that the export health certificate would only be issued on production of a compliant cadmium result from a sample submitted for testing by the Marine Institute; if the SFPA was offered an opportunity to join fellow EU agencies engaging with the Chinese authorities to have the standard for cadmium adjusted to bring it in line with EU regulations; the position decided upon by the Irish authorities on this latter point; and if the authorities consulted with fishing representative stakeholders in forming this position. [51381/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar 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.