Shippers assessing North Africa options
Beef price surge helping export plans
At least two Irish cattle exporters are assessing the viability of reopening the live trade to North Africa.
While concrete proposals are not in place, it is believed the shippers have identified potential outlets in the region for plainer quality stock.
Last week Tunisia confirmed it was willing to reopen its market to Irish beef.
Vets from Morocco also visited Ireland recently. They were primarily concerned with beef imports, but the possibility of taking live stock is understood to have been raised.
Getting a boat approved for the trade could be difficult as EU rules governing the standard of vessel allowed for live shipping of cattle are strictly enforced by Department of Agriculture vets.
The Department said an official application for boat approval had not been received.
"The Department has not had an application for any vessel interested in being authorised to transport live animals to Africa," a statement read.
"There is a strict process of inspection and trial voyages before the authorisation is granted, so even if we did receive an application, it would take some time before it was able to commence transporting."