Ireland's move on "goose-down crabs" causing higher prices in China

Published on
December 14, 2017

Chinese seafood importers are concerned about the impact of new conservation rules on future supply of Ireland’s “goose-down crabs” – the name in Mandarin given to the necora puber variety of crab. 

Ireland’s Agriculture Ministry has announced that, under the European Union’ss Natura 2000 rules, crabs caught after 1 January, 2018, will be limited to 65 millimeters in size – typically 15 kilograms in weight.

The move has generated a significant amount of from traders commenting on Chinese seafood trade social media platforms, including Haixian Zhi Dao and Shui Chan Pin Dao – reflecting the popularity of the crabs in China.

Currently, “goose-down crabs” (the Mandarin name reflects the crabs’ hairy belly) are fetching USD 7.00 to 8.00 (EUR 5.94 to 6.79) per kilo in China. More than 481 tons were caught in 2015, according to Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM), the Irish government agency.

Exporters from Ireland and the United Kingdom have seen demand surge for brown crabs, which are typically named in Mandarin according to texture. The “bread crabs” from Ireland are marketed on Chinese e-retailers like JD.com as “sweet” and as having “plump meat.”

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