BIM Launch New Brown Crab Handling and Quality Guide

BIM has recently launched a new guide on Brown Crab Handling and Quality (pdf 5,054Kb) . The guide is the latest addition to BIM’s suite of Quality and Handling guides designed for the use of the skipper and crew of crab fishing vessels. It focuses on the use of the senses (i.e. visual appearance and physical gauging of weight) to determine the quality and meat yield of Brown Crab (Cancer pagurus) and describes best practice in the handling and storage of crab, from capture through grading, boxing and storage to onward transport.

The fishery for Brown crab (Cancer pagurus) also known as edible crab or common crab, is the fourth most valuable demersal fishery in Ireland (c.€9 million; 6,000t), representing 7% of the total value and volume of demersal landings.

The species is landed in all major and many smaller ports around the Irish coast and is a significant source of income for many fishermen and fishing communities. The traditional inshore fishery of vessels between 10m and 18m LOA, accounts for c.40% of landings with the remaining proportion of landings coming from offshore vessels (> 18m LOA), including the fleet of live-holding or vivier vessels, which predominately fish off the northwest coast of Ireland.

The species is fished using pots, which are highly selective and environmentally friendly. Discards of undersized and juvenile crab along with bycatch species are all returned, alive and undamaged to the sea.

Although a non-quota species, Ireland has been proactive in self-regulating fishing effort on this species and is acting with international partners to form an industry-led management and marketing forum to maximise the value of this fishery in a responsible manner.

Responsibility, quality, traceability and provenance are the core principles of BIM’s, internationally recognised (i.e. ISO 65) Seafood Stewardship Programme. Both vivier and inshore crab boats are under assessment for this certification and on achievement will have unique status on European and Global markets.

This new guide is a key supporting document for BIM’s Seafood Stewardship Programme and the latest in BIM’s quality and handling guide series.


This guide was produced in support of the Irish Fishing Industry by Frances O’Dwyer (BIM) with assistance from Owen Doyle (BIM), Conor Nolan (BIM), Ian Lawler (BIM), Norah Parke (KFO) and Oliver Tully (MI).