On March 3rd, SEASL hosted the 2nd blue swimmer crab fishery steering committee meeting with representatives from DFAR, NARA, fisher community representatives, and seafood companies. The meeting was held at the Sri Lanka Foundation with simultaneous translation between English and Tamil. The main issue fishers were concerned about was the ‘illegal’ Indian and Sri Lankan trawlers present in coastal waters.
The Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (DFAR), said they are keen to work with fisher communities in strategies to address local trawler issues. The SL BSC FIP has further been invited by the Foreign Ministry to discuss the Indian Trawler issue with respect to the International Maritime Boundary it shares with its neighbor. See news articles by Steve Creech, BSC FIP Coordinator, on Indian trawlers and on Sri Lankan trawlers.
On Stock Assessments, in addition to a biological parameter assessment by the National Aquatic Resource Research and Development Agency (NARA), SEASL will have completed 2 length based, spawning potential ratio (LB-SPR) assessments in 2 northern districts. Method developers Dr. Jeremy Prince and Dr. Adrian Hordyck of Murdoch University have been reviewing the SEASL data. SPR is a data deficient tool for small-scale fisheries to manage wild caught fish (crab) stocks. For more information on the method, and access to SPR software to do your own assessment, follow the website Jeremy and Adrian have setup in what’s the catch?
*Note LB-SPR has not yet been calibrated to the MSC.
On March 17th, SEASL also played host to MSC’s Developing World Program with coordinator, Cassie Leisk. The workshop was training on MSC’s criteria and their process of assessment. Fishery managers, fishery scientists, and universities attended the workshop. Regionally, there is keen interest on MSC’s Risk Based Framework (RBF) for Principle 2 indicators on the ecosystem, given the inherent selectivity of crab gillnets and traps.
Recently the VASEP Crab Council was awarded a small-grant by the 50in10 Foundation to pilot a “Theory of Change.” The approach brings key players together, and looks beyond traditional FIP indicators through addressing management capacity and incentive structures in the supply chain.
Last week we were able to travel with Miguel Jorge, Managing Director of 50in10, to Kien Giang, and participate in a series of roundtable discussions with fishers, mini-plant operators, middlemen, processors, US importers, and government fishery managers. The trip highlighted there was significant regional demand for blue swimmer crab from neighbors in Thailand and Cambodia. That unlike the Crab Council and their sister Processors, these markets don’t have any sustainability requirements. Which have led to depleted crab stocks, and suspicious gear-types that almost target undersized crab.
The joint effort will look to address a co-management mechanism with fisher groups to incentivize better fishing practices, use of industry leverage to address enforcement capacity with fishery managers (especially with regard to unselective gear-types), and address actors in the supply chain where leakage of fishery compliance may occur.
The Vietnam FIP has been dedicated to continuous data collection, using recognized methods to estimate biomass. The Kien Giang stock assessment has produced several inputs for management including target and limit reference points, biological parameters on blue swimmer crab stocks, and a suite of harvest control rules. This year the FIP will switch-gears to address enforcement, compliance, and co-management initiatives. The FIP is Comprehensive as per CASS guidelines. Click on hyperlinks for FIP Action Plan, FIP Tracking, MSC BMT, and BMT Dashboard.
In their recent quarterly meeting, PACPI swears in a new administration with Mr. Bobby Eduardo (RGE Agridev) back as Chairman, Mr. Daniel Sison (Blue Star Foods) as the President, Mr. Ken Choi (Phil. Union Frozen Foods) as Treasurer, and Mr. Nelson Bascones.
To dovetail their Stock Enhancement efforts in Iloilo, PACPI has begun talks with SEAFDEC-AQD on a potential partnership to help operate the hatchery.
On March 11th, US Ambassador, H.E. Robert Blake, visited Betahwalang village where for the past 2 years APRI have been engaged in an initiative with the University of Diponogoro (UNDIP). The project sought a grass roots approach for fishers to address fishery management. The catalyst to align the community for better fishing practices was the village mosque. Since the projects inception they’ve established a no-fishing zone for crab rearing, and a Bupati Decree (local fishery management document) on fishery regulations.
APRI with SFP will pilot a Control Document system this year that seeks to keep supply chains free from undersized crab, berried crab, and crab coming from coastal trawlers. These measures would strengthen already existing laws on blue swimmer crab fisheries. The Control Document system would even the playing field between folks abiding by fishery regulations and those with an unfair advantage who are not following the regulations. Trials for the Control Document will begin the second week of April. The prospect of the initiative would affect the rest of the region in how blue swimmer crab is harvested, traded, and imported to the US.
Crab Council at SENA
On the morning of the first day of the Seafood Expo North America (SENA), Crab Council members and supporters met for their annual meeting at the Westin. A regional overview was presented by Asia Liaison Jeremy Crawford, followed by brief updates from in-country trade associations, and discussion with SFP founder Jim Cannon on Control Documents. Emphasis for 2015-2016 will be transitioning FIPs from basic to comprehensive in their monitoring and reporting, Control Documents, and addressing co-management initiatives. Our FIPs will delve deeper into incentive structures in the supply chain to initiate change, and address enforcement and compliance capacity.