Following increase in demand: Conservation of blue swimming crab ensured

Mitchelle L. Palaubsanon (The Freeman) - September 19, 2015 - 10:00am

CEBU, Philippines - Noting an increase in the demand for blue swimming crab (BSC) locally known as “kasag” or “lambay,” the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources-7 has developed a program that would ensure the protection and conservation of the said crustacean.

BFAR-7 director Andres Bojos said they will implement a program dubbed as Gear Swap Program, which is generally made to ensure the sustainability and rational management of BSC.

Bojos said existing fishing gear commonly used by crab fishers like the lift net will be swapped by a crab pot.

Bojos said this fishing gear has simple structure and can be handled easily on board a small fishing boat.

“The use of crab pot as a recommended fishing gear will allow fishermen to return gravid and juvenile crabs to the sea encouraging sustainable fishing, while increasing fishing income,” he said. 

A total of 16,000 crab pots that are 24 inches in diameter, 2.5 inches in mesh size, 4.5 inches in valve diameter and 10 inches in height will be distributed to various local government units.

The gear will be deployed to areas with a depth of not less than 10 meters to avoid catching of juvenile stocks, said Bojos.

BFAR-7 said that undeniably, the production of BSC is steadily increasing from 354 MT in 2004 to 1599 MT in 2009. It remained at 1400 MT in 2010 and 2011.

BSC ranks 7th among the 10 major produces in the country with an average production of 1174 MT from 2004 to 2011, contributing 4% to the total annual fishery production.

The increasing demand for such crabs both in local and export market has led to unsustainable fishing, significantly decreasing income for fisherfolk who rely on the crab for their livelihood.

Declining trends in volume and crab size can be attributed to the drastic depletion of BSC breeding stocks since in the 1990s. —/NSA (FREEMAN)

ACIRC ANDRES BOJOS BOJOS BSC BUREAU OF FISHERIES AND AQUATIC RESOURCES CRAB FISHING GEAR GEAR SWAP PROGRAM INCHES INCREASING
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