PACPI completed the MSC Gap Analysis with MRAG and fishery stakeholders in September 2014. A draft of the FIP Action Plan with measurable milestones was circulated between stakeholder groups. The final pre-assessment report was completed in May 2015. The alignment to MSC would allow for broader recognition of improvements, recommended by groups such as CASS and Seafood Watch. The realignment means more stakeholders are involved in the FIP process and help the FIP manager organize and monitor sub-project initiatives.
In early 2016, PACPI welcomed the membership of Byrd International Cebu to the roster of member exporters, which accounts for nearly all Philippine blue swimmer crab processors. Industry alignment that keeps in-country processors and their supply-chains on an even playing field is key to securing sustainable resources.
Stock enhancement efforts have been ongoing thru partnership with Negros Provincial Government, which draws cooperation from the barangay councils and local government units. Dispersal activities have spanned across 8 municipalities (14 sites/barangays) in Northern Negros namely Silay City, Talisay City, E.B. Magalona, Manapla, Victorias City, Cadiz City, Sagay City, Escalante City, as well as Bantayan Island in Cebu. Seed dispersal activities have become an effective venue to educate fishers and processors on the importance of sustainability and compliance to existing laws. For the past few months, the Provincial Government of Negros has conducted initial monitoring on berried crab landings and the impacts of stocking berried females in lying-in cages. The province is developing a repository of its FIPs in cooperation with PACPI.
Continuous data collection for BSC in Visayan is being conducted by NSAP in Region 6 which covers 20 sites, though results may only come as raw data at the moment. To align with this initiative, PACPI employed a team of researchers in Bantayan Island (also part of Visayan Sea) last August 2016 to conduct a spawning potential ratio (SPR) assessment, patterned from the pilot project in Danajon Bank in Bohol. Bantayan Island is where the first large-scale of blue crab processing took place. It is also worth noting that all major BSC processors and exporter source from these areas.
USAID-ECOFISH have completed a year’s worth of data collection using SPR methodology. Project partners have agreed to phase out lift nets in favor of pots to prevent catching of juvenile blue crabs. Activities have revolved around redesigning the technical specifications of the pots (e.g. wider valve, bigger mesh size, material consideration) and mass production thereafter, and IEC on crab sustainability and existing laws. Last October 2016, BFAR has already turned over 5,000 crab pots to the select beneficiaries of the Gear Swap Program. At present, PACPI is monitoring the extent of utilization of the pots and will be engaging the fishers in fish catch data collection. Mapping and zoning of blue crab areas for integration in municipal fishery ordinances will also be part of the deliverables before the start of the third quarter. The implications of the project would be a fishery management and data collection framework that could be replicated at scale.
In November 2016, PACPI and University of the Philippines Visayas signed a Memorandum of Agreement to encourage student participation in FIPs for BSC through the Student Research Grant. Topics available for grant include stock assessment, by-catch analysis and species interactions of BSC fishery, evaluation of current management status and stock enhancement strategies, and population genetics, among others. Academe plays a vital role in environmental protection and conservation being a birthplace of knowledge. The University of the Philippines has championed works in the fishery science, resource management, and policies. The same university has successfully completed the government-funded project on the value chain analysis of Philippine BSC. Part of the results were presented to industry and government sectors last December. The project captured various aspects including socio-economic issues, post-harvest practices, policies, and supply chain activities in all critical production areas of blue crabs. This project will provide groundwork for possible interventions to improve the current state of the fishery and its growing industry.
For 2017, PACPI further plans to expand its presence in Palawan which is also among the top 5 producing regions and is where previous reports on ETP species interactions in Malampaya Sound have been documented. PACPI has touched base with various stakeholders’ groups in the identification of management and policy gaps in the Malampaya network. If funding permits, PACPI plans to work with the LGUs, NGOs and academe to conduct stock assessments and employ gear selectivity measures to reduce juvenile exploitation as well as to mitigate impacts of the fishery on ETP species.
Byrd International has joined PACPI bringing membership to six companies. With Byrd as a member, only one crab producer in the Philippines remains a non-memberJune 10
PACPI’s ongoing pilot project regarding Spawning Potential Ration (SPR) has successfully gauged stock status in Bohol’s Danajon Reef. In partnership with USAID-ECOFISH, PACPI recorded blue swimming crab fisheries in Bohol at 27% with 30% being a reference point for healthy stocks.
PACPI plans to employ the SPR assessment method in Bantayan Island during 2016’s third quarter. As the flagship site of large scale blue swimming crab in the Philippines and a major contributor to Region VII’s crab production, Bantayan Island is an important BSC fishery with over 150 crab fishers and numerous processing plants.
During the first quarter of 2016, PACPI has expanded their online presence with a website redesign and the launch of a Facebook page. These resources provide FIP progress, fishery news and documents for blue swimming crab stakeholders in the Philippines and abroad.September 20
During the FIP Managers meeting held in Bangkok, Thailand, Josette Genio of PACPI reviewed the work-to-date of the Philippines blue swimming crab FIP.
PACPI is currently updating its 2012 stock assessment of the Visayan Sea with an assessment that covers 2 regions and over 20 municipalities. In addition, PACPI started in August a Spawning Potential Ratio assessment of Bantayan Island.
This year PACPI has sponsored a student research grant in two universities to study bycatch within the gillnet and pot fisheries. PACPI is also coordinating with WWF’s Irrawaddy Conservation
Program to confirm the minimal impact of the blue swimming crab fishery on the Irrawaddy dolphin stock.
The PACPI website has been launched. Blue Swimming Crab stakeholders can find there recent sustainability news and social media posts.September 30
PACPI conducted a 2-day survey of crabbing operations in Malampaya Sound located in Taytay, Palawan. In the following months, PACPI participated in stakeholders’ meetings with WWF to address the issue on Irrawaddy by-catch as well as to encourage policy formulation to safeguard BSC stocksOctober 31
In October, BFAR 7 distributed crab pots to fishermen in Getafe, Bohol. The distribution is part of the on-going Gear Swap Program for crab fishers in selected sites in Danajon Bank. Representatives from the Mayor’s office, Bohol Provincial Fisheries office, DA, and PACPI were present.November 30
PACPI and University of the Philippines-Visayas signed a Memorandum of Agreement to encourage student participation in Fisheries Improvement Projects for Blue Swimming Crab, through the Student Research Grant. The research grant aims to support implementation of BSC projects in priority areas such as stock assessment, by-catch analysis and other species interactions of BSC fishery, evaluation of current management status and stock enhancement strategies, and population genetics.December 31
University of the Philippines-Visayas presented results of Value Chain Analysis on Philippine Blue Swimming crab to industry and government stakeholders to discuss the current problems and identify possible interventions to improve the state of the fishery and its growing industry.
PACPI and stakeholders conduct drafting work shop for the FIP Action Plan.February 22
February 22nd, PACPI played host to fishery scientists, BFAR, LGU’s, and local NGO’s in a deep dive conversation to outline next steps in FIP Planning. Fishery consultant, Robert Wakeford presided over the dialogue to ensure sustainability performance indicators were properly addressed.March 1
PACPI welcomes new member Millennium Ocean Star into the trade association. Local processor Byrd is looking to join, which would only leave Saravia Blue as the only major blue swimmer crab processer not yet to join the Philippine blue swimmer crab FIP with BFAR and LGU’s.
“Blue Swimmer Crab Public-Private Partnership Kick-Off Meeting”, was the launch of of a partnership between USAID, ECOFISH, the Province of Bohol, and PACPI to conduct SPR assessment of the blue swimmer crab fishery in Bohol.February 3
Joint Administrative Order (JAO 2014-01) was formalized and published in the local media to take effect on February 18.May 30
On May 28th PACPI reseeded a total of 56,600 crablets in Sagay City (Carbin Reef and Suyac Ecopark), in the province of Negros Occidental. Governor of Negros Occidental, Alfredo Maranon, and town Mayor of Sagay City, Joseph Maranon, presided over the reseeding.
On May 30th reseeding continued in Estancia, Northern Iloilo, with 19,000 crablets.September 30
At the end of September researchers, government representatives from the LGU’s, BFAR, Universities, NGO’s, and processors conducted the MSC Gap Analysis with Dr. Robert Wakeford from MRAG-UK.
62,000 blue swimmer crab juveniles that were bred in the PACPI hatchery were released in the municipal waters of Anilao, Banate, and Estacia (Iloilo). The reseeding activities were coupled with education campaigns on stewardship of the resource including the protection of immature and gravid crabs. The provincial Government of Iloilo’s Provincial Agriculturist Office helped coordinate the event; fisher groups, local government, PAPCI, and local school children participated.
11 July 2013 at Fersal Hotel in Quezon City and presided by Assistant Agriculture Secretary Salvador Salacup, the NFARMC has favorably endorsed the approval and publication of the Joint Administrative Order (JAO) for Regulation for the Conservation of Blue Swimming Crab in the Philippines. It was the second of the eight agenda of the meeting. The JAO is the legal implementing document for the National BSC Management Framework.
- Commencing March (extending into April) 2012, PACPI initiated a one-month radio infomercial in the Province of Negros Occidental (local radio station). • PACPI was encouraged by the NFI Crab Council to develop a new workplan for 2012, with a focus on stock assessments, biological and ecological studies, stock enhancement through hatchery rearing, holding of berried individuals, and resource management. PACPI agreed to continue to avail itself of SFP’s support.
- The Philippine BSC Management Plan process started in 2009. On 18 June 2012, BFAR conducted its final stakeholder consultation for the Blue Swimming Crab Management Plan with key regulatory actions that include but are not limited to:
- Establish a minimum carapace width banning the landing and trading of BSC with carapace width less than 10.2 cm or 4 inches
- Protect immature BSC nursery areas like the seagrass beds
- Limit the sizes and numbers of legal crabbing gears
- Encourage fishers not to fish in waters less than 10 meters deep to avoid catching most of the immature BSC
- Establish closed season or closing of fishing grounds if science warrants it.
- The Province of Iloilo (one of the Local Government Units with rich BSC fishing grounds in its municipal waters) recently promulgated Provincial Ordinance 2012-093 primarily banning the trade and landings of BSC with less than 11-cm carapace width. The implementation started on 1 July 2012.
- On the 17 September 2012, the National Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Management Council (NFARMC) adopted the BSC Management Plan, which would serve as the national framework towards the sustainability of the BSC resources in the Philippines. The regulations identified in this Plan would be implemented through the Fisheries Administrative Orders (FAO), with formulation and adoption following the process undertaken by the Management Plan. The adoption of this Framework Management Plan will further strengthen the efforts earlier initiated by the Local Government Units (LGUs). Note that while the minimum size identified in this
- Management Plan serves as the minimum baseline for the whole country, the LGUs have the freedom to opt to implement a higher minimum size limit.
- Throughout CY 2011, PACPI was able on three occasions to release hatchery-reared crabs to the wild.
- The releases were made in protected areas near the hatchery in Guiuan, Eastern Samar, Philippines. The impact of these releases has not been monitored.
- The NFI Crab Council developed an action plan to improve the sustainability of the BSC industry through supporting minimum purchased crab size for the Philippines and Indonesia, which can hopefully be used in Thailand, India, and Vietnam. This plan was made official by the NFI Crab
- Council on 23 March 2011, and member companies were requested to add minimum size to their sourcing policies that took effect on 1 July 2011. This was to ensure that the harvested crabs have the chance to first lay eggs at least once before being caught. However, this plan was not implemented by PACPI.
- On 1 November 2011, the NFI Crab Council adopted a new sustainability policy that will restrict the purchasing of female crabs bearing eggs or “berried” females. The goal of this policy is to improve the crab population in Indonesia and the Philippines by giving berried females a chance to release their eggs.
- PACPI, in partnership with BFAR-Guiuan, made three releases of hatchery-reared crabs into the wild between May 2011 and January 2012. The releases were done in the waters of Eastern Samar, Philippines, mostly in protected areas (4 sites) surrounding the Municipality of Guiuan. There were about 6,200 hatchery-reared
- SFP hopes to promote the following key activities for the sustainability of the BSC resources in the Philippines:
- Create a comprehensive map of the resources and related activities.
- Craft a comprehensive stakeholders’ map of the BSC fisheries and industry.
- Promote responsible policies, such as limiting fishing capacity to sustainable levels through caps on the number and size of fishing gears, banning the trade and catching of immature BSC, providing strict protection and implementation of critical habitats.
- Promote best practices (e.g., use more environmentally friendly and more efficient fishing gears, fleets, and fishing techniques; green the supply chain; and establish an accountability check within the supply chain).
- Promote stock assessment studies to update the status of the Visayan Sea stocks and conduct stock assessments in areas where no data still exists.
- Promote scientific studies proving the economic and ecological advantages of using environmentally friendly fishing gears and methods.
- Increase stakeholder awareness and education regarding sustainability issues.