February was a month of emerging initiatives for the blue swimming crab sustainability movement with FIP preparations meetings in India, policy meetings in Sri Lanka and the launch of a new sustainability strategy by the Walton Family Foundation in Indonesian.
At the beginning of the month, I attended a meeting put on by Crab Meat Producers Association of India (CMPAI), the in-country processor group spearheading the Indian FIP formation. I gave a lecture on FIP fundamentals, explaining how to best manage and review a FIP for recognized progress.
Dr. Steve Creech of the Sri Lankan blue swimming crab FIP delivered a presentation that examined the FIP process from the perspective of the Sri Lankan fishery.
Resulting from the meeting was an agreement from CMPAI members to submit a proposal to the NFI Crab Council at the end of February 2017. The proposal will consist of a plan and accompanying budget with the first outlays being an MSC pre-assessment performed in 2017 followed by a FIP launch.
In Colombo at the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, I met with HP Kaliyani Hemapatkirane, Deputy Director for Fish Biology. Our conversation concerned a Draft Code that would amend an existing Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Act. The amendment would provide for the proper disposal of damaged and used nets. The revised draft code was submitted and signed on February 15th.
I had an educational visit with Professor Dilrukshi da Silva and Dr. Jeevanta Bandara of the University of Colombo Department of Zoology and School of Computing. The two have been working on GPS and community mapping for critical habitats and fishing grounds. As part of their research, a smartphone app for the use of fishermen is being developed that will allow for easier fishery monitoring. In addition, a newly finished thesis by the department finds that there is negligible overlap between BSC fishing grounds and critical marine habitats.
On February 21, the Walton Family Foundation organized the launching of its Environment Program – Indonesia Strategy at the World Ocean Summit 2017 in Bali. I had the opportunity to attend the launch and discuss the Indonesian BSC FIP with the foundation’s Rob Walton, Melanie Walton, Peter Bryant, Barry Gold and Monica Medina.
The WWF plan outlines core areas of investment for 2016-2020 that seek to support the creation and adoption of national management plans, bring governance and management reforms to priority fishery sectors and the adoption of traceability systems and financial incentives for sustainable practices.
Blue swimming crab is designated as a priority fishery. The NFI Crab Council looks forward to working with WFF to advance their Indonesian strategy and create a stronger management program for Indonesian crab.