Irish Fishers Anticipate Business Risk As Crab Market Collapses

By Dayeeta Das
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Irish Fishers Anticipate Business Risk As Crab Market Collapses

Crab fishers in Ireland are concerned about going out of business following a 'sudden collapse' in the crab market, according to a report in the RTÉ.

Demand for Irish brown crab in France, Spain and Portugal has seen a significant fall, resulting in a 40% reduction in income for Irish crab fishers.

Following the decline in demand, Irish buyers exporting to the continental market are reluctant to purchase from fishers, fearing the possibility of unsold stock.

The increase in transporting produce and the rising cost of living are believed to be the reasons behind the fall in demand, the report noted.

More than 430 boats operate in the Irish brown crab segment and the annual output is around 6,000 tonnes.


Annual Irish crab exports are worth up to €50 million, but fishermen have taken a severe hit in recent weeks, the report said.

The report also noted that poor prices for lobster and the recent ban on pollack fishing have added to the difficulties of inshore fishers.

Seafood Exports

In 2023, the combined overall seafood exports from Ireland declined 14% year on year in value, to €550 million, according to data from Bord Bia.

In the shellfish category, which includes crabs, exports fell by around 7% value with volumes remaining stable.


The core markets for shellfish in the EU - Italy, France and Spain, which account for 65% of total export values - saw sluggish demand, leading to double-digit reductions in export values.

However, shellfish exports to Asian markets recovered, with export values to China increasing by more than 10%, data showed.

Read More: Conservation International, LRQA, FishWise Team Up To Assess Risks In Seafood Supply Chains

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