Almost all blue swimming crab fisheries in Asia are facing similar challenges, including: a lack of nationwide stock assessments; inadequate management, enforcement, and monitoring; and insufficient precaution in protecting the stocks. Of particular concern are the landing, harvest, and sales of juvenile crabs and berried females (female crabs bearing eggs) and the declining trend in crab size and catch per unit effort.  In addition, there are some significant impacts on bycatch and retained species, especially in bottom trawl and gillnet fisheries. 

SFP’s general approach is to convene suppliers and buyers into a roundtable and then provide support and guidance in generating activities that promote sustainable management of the fisheries. In this case, the NFI Crab Council serves the function of a supplier roundtable for the swimming crab fisheries in Southeast Asia.

SFP provides assistance to the NFI Crab Council where necessary including: 

  • Providing guidance on the approaches the members can take to addressing any problems in FIPs (e.g., discussing conditions required to rebuild the stocks, monitoring compliance with minimum landing size requirements, etc.).
     
  • Monitoring the sustainability status of swimming crab stocks and conducting independent evaluations of FIP progress.  SFP will put those together in regular reports (semi-annual).
     
  • Providing technical assistance to stalled FIPs where local experts cannot help, (for instance, the creation and promotion of control documents).
     
  • Providing training in best practices in implementing FIPs.

SFP also provides links in FishSource to relevant, third-party-operated fishery improvement projects and associated public reports in Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, and Thailand. 

For more details on the sustainability status of the fisheries, progress of the FIPs, and improvement recommendations, please click here.

Fisheries and/or FIPs Covered:

At present, the roundtable focuses on a number of swimming crab fisheries in Asia. The following FIPs are supported and monitored:

Indonesian blue swimming crab - gillnet/trap FIP

Indonesia Jepara blue swimming crab – bottom gillnet FIP

Indonesia Maros swimming crab – trap FIP

Philippines blue swimming crab FIP

Sri Lankan blue swimming crab FIP

Thailand blue swimming crab – bottom gillnet/trap FIP

Vietnam blue swimming crab – bottom gillnet/trap FIP

Prospective FIPs: 

Prospective China Fujian Zhangzhou red swimming crab – bottom trawl & pot/trap FIP

India blue swimming crab FIP in preparation

A list of NFI Crab Council members can be found on their website.

Almost all blue swimming crab fisheries in Asia are facing similar challenges, including: a lack of nationwide stock assessments; inadequate management, enforcement, and monitoring; and insufficient precaution in protecting the stocks. Of particular concern are the landing, harvest, and sales of juvenile crabs and berried females (female crabs bearing eggs) and the declining trend in crab size and catch per unit effort.  In addition, there are some significant impacts on bycatch and retained species, especially in bottom trawl and gillnet fisheries. 

The NFI Crab Council as SR convenes the market based suppliers to provide support and guidance in generating activities that improve their source fisheries.

SFP provides assistance to the NFI Crab Council where necessary including: 

  • Providing guidance on the approaches the members can take to addressing any problems in FIPs (e.g., discussing conditions required to rebuild the stocks, monitoring compliance with minimum landing size requirements, etc.). Specifically SFP assists in the development and implementation of control documents in the Indonesian supply chain to NFI CC members. Control Documents are meant to assure traceability and legality of the crab products. SFP continues to work with APRI and the government on incorporating the Control Document traceability data into the health certificate for export process.
  • Monitoring the sustainability status of swimming crab stocks and conducting independent evaluations of FIP progress.  SFP will put those together in regular reports (semi-annual).
     
  • Providing technical assistance to stalled FIPs where local experts cannot help, (for instance, the creation and promotion of control documents).
     
  • Providing training in best practices in implementing FIPs.

SFP also provides links to relevant, third-party-operated fishery improvement projects and associated public reports in Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, and Thailand,

Southeast Asian Blue Swimming Crab SR Update – January to March 2020

This briefing provides an update on progress, activities, and news in areas of interest to the SR. It also indicates any actions and further support needed. A full summary of past progress, including details from past quarterly updates, can be found in the SR Chronicles. 

NOTE: Due to the impacts of COVID-19, activities associated with the Southeast Asian Blue Swimming Crab Supply Chain Roundtable and other industry partners have been affected. SFP is in the process of assessing impacts to this sector, both in the field and in the markets, and will shift activities accordingly in order to support domestic and international supply chain members.

The National Fisheries Institute Crab Council (NFI CC) serves as the Southeast Asian Blue Swimming Crab Supply Chain Roundtable (SR) and convenes market-based suppliers to provide support and guidance in generating activities that improve their source fisheries. 

SFP provides assistance to the NFI Crab Council where necessary, including providing guidance on the approaches the members can take to address any problems in FIPs (e.g., discussing conditions required to rebuild the stocks, monitoring compliance with minimum landing size requirements, etc.). 

Specifically, SFP assists in the development and implementation of control documents in the Indonesian supply chain for NFI CC members. Control documents are meant to assure traceability and legality of the crab products. SFP continues to work with APRI (Asosiasi Pengelolaan Rajungan Indonesia, the Indonesian Blue Swimming Crab Association) and the government on incorporating control document traceability data into the export health certificate process. 

For detailed information on FIPs and activities related to Southeast Asian blue swimming crab, see the following resources:

NFI Crab Council

Fishery Progress 

1.     Improvements in Target 75 Priority Fisheries 

Update: SFP continued to engage with the NFI CC to remind members about priorities in T75 related to Southeast Asian swimming crabs, including in China, India, and Sri Lanka. 

India Palk Bay blue swimming crab - gillnet 

Update: The NFI CC provided information that the pre-assessment for the India FIP came through in April 2019. The workplan is almost complete, and the FIP will be reporting on Fishery Progress soon. 

Further support needed: Support emerging improvement efforts in India

China Fujian Zhangzhou red swimming crab – bottom trawl and pot/trap FIP:

Update: The China red swimming crab FIP was previously impacted by the tariffs placed on imports from China to the US. As a result, red swimming crab (RSC) imports are down in the US. However, in March 2020, tariffs were reduced. With this change in trade agreements, there is a possibility that the FIP can resume progress. No further update is available for this period. 

Further support needed: Support emerging improvement efforts in China. 

2. Support to Established FIPs and Improvement Efforts 

Please find an overview of all existing FIPs and improvement efforts, their current progress ratings, and status here

Indonesia Blue Swimming Crab – gillnet/trap FIP 

Update: SFP works closely with the NFI Crab Council and the Indonesian Blue Swimming Crab Association (APRI) to assist with FIP activities through technical advice and support. Recent activities to support the work of the NFI Crab Council and APRI include: 

  • Control document and audit system:
    • In coordination with APRI and member companies of the NFI Crab Council, significant progress was made toward completion of the 2019 baseline audits, with close to 200 miniplants audited across Indonesia. The audits are part of the control document implementation process designed to measure the compliance rate of regulations put in place for blue swimming crab (minimum size limit of 10cm and no harvest of egg-berried females).
    • To support communication about the control document implementation, SFP worked with the NFI Crab Council on a progress summary brief to share with food service/retail partners and to be included with updates in early 2020 about SFP’s T75 campaign.
    • A recent SFP blog post discussed progress toward implementation of this system for Indonesian blue swimming crab. 
    • In February 2020, APRI compiled a summary of the audit reports that measured the compliance rate of catch documentation and regulations in place for blue swimming crab and will discuss next steps in streamlining the control document implementation and improvements to the compliance rates.
  • Co-management of blue swimming crab: SFP continues to work with APRI and the NFI Crab Council to develop co-management strategies for Indonesian blue swimming crab, through the use of co-management community organizers in three key fishing communities. This effort will support and help contribute to coordination of management strategies with the local, provincial, and national governments. The co-management approach is being piloted in three communities in Central Java (Rembang), East Java (Pamekasan), and Southeast Sulawesi (Pamendati). 
  • Fisher engagement: SFP has helped organize a national group of blue swimming crab fishers and convened a meeting in early March 2020 to help the group form a fishers forum to support and enhance fisher engagement with the government and in policy work for the fishery.
  • Advice on NFI CC Unit of Assessment work: SFP, working closely with APRI, provided technical guidance on metrics for site selection of areas to initiate work on better defining management strategies in smaller Units of Assessment in Indonesia. This will be the focus of the Crab Council’s work in Indonesia, in the areas of Central Java (Demak, Pemalang, Rembang) and East Java (Madura), while also still supporting a national approach to FIP development. 

Further support needed: Support full implementation and auditing of control documents in your Indonesian supply chain, as well as integration into the health certificate issuing process.

Sri Lankan Blue Swimming Crab FIP 

Update: SFP worked with the Crab Council to update the progress and current work plan of this FIP on the Crab Council’s projects webpage. As a result, the FIP improved its public reports on improvements in the FIP, and its FIP rating on Fishery Progress was raised to an A. 

Further support needed: Continue maintaining public progress reporting of the Sri Lankan BSC FIP on fisheryprogress.org.

Vietnam Blue Swimming Crab FIP - bottom gillnet/pot/trap 

Update: The FIP became inactive on January 27, 2020 due to the lack of ability to implement and enforce meaningful regulation.

Further support needed: Support efforts to reactivate the FIP in coordination with industry (NFI Crab Council and the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters & Producers (VASEP). 

3. Support for Mitigation of Overarching Fishery/FIP Sustainability Issues 

The NFI CC continues to coordinate with APRI and partners on issues being addressed by the national FIP in Indonesia. 

4. Expansion of the SR  

The NFI CC seeks and recruits new members according to their needs. 

Update: SFP continues to assess and analyze data on Indonesian blue swimming crab exports to the US each quarter. This analysis helps identify potential gaps in the supply chain in terms of companies that are not members of the industry organizations, to target and suggest to the NFI CC further participation by those companies in Indonesian BSC FIP activities.

Further support needed: None.

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