NFI Crab Council Adopts New Sustainability Policy

Group’s Latest Initiative Supports Limiting Harvest of Egg Bearing Female Crabs

Major companies in the Blue Swimming Crab market continue their sustainability efforts with a new policy that will restrict the purchasing of female crabs bearing eggs or “berried” females.

This latest initiative from the National Fisheries Institute Crab Council will help improve crab populations in Indonesia and the Philippines by giving berried females a chance to release their eggs.

“This effort continues the Council’s goal to create positive change in Blue Swimming Crab fisheries and to further ensure the sustainability of the stock,” said Crab Council Chair Ed Rhodes of Phillips Foods.

The Crab Council, which represents 80 percent of the Blue Swimming Crab imported to the US, will encourage work to educate local fishermen on the importance of giving berried female crabs a chance to release their eggs.

“With this policy, we will also help limit markets for berried female crabs and crab roe,” added Brendan Sweeny of Handy International, who helped craft the policy. “It’s through initiatives like these that we hope to promote practices that will ensure the resource is around for future generations.”

The limited berried female purchasing policy went into effect Nov. 1. The announcement comes just four months after the Crab Council’s minimum size requirement took effect, a sustainability initiative designed to end the harvesting of undersized crabs.

“These companies are industry leaders in sustainability and embracing these guidelines reflects their continued commitment to responsible harvesting practices,” said Howard Johnson, director of global programs for the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership.

The Council is currently working with associations in Vietnam and Thailand to expand their sustainability work.