Top Crab Importers Adopt Minimum Size Policy

Coalition Passes Major Sustainability Initiative

Companies that represent more than 60 percent of the U.S. market for imported Blue Swimming Crab have launched a major sustainability initiative designed to end the harvesting of undersized crabs.

“Today we adopted a plan that recommends participating companies add a minimum size to their sourcing policies beginning July first,” said Crab Council Chair Ed Rhodes of Phillips Foods.

Blue Star, Bumble Bee, Chicken of the Sea Frozen Foods, Handy, Heron Point, Lawrence Street Seafood, Newport, Phillips, RGE, Supreme Lobster and Twin Tails make up the National Fisheries Institute’s Crab Council.

Tom Dykstra of Heron Point Seafood and Brendan Sweeny of Handy spearheaded the Council’s Minimum Size Task Force.

“The Council has been very clear with our sustainability partners in Indonesia and the Philippines that setting an 8cm minimum, that’s carapace width measured tip to tip, is a first step. We’re following the science and regional regulations to ensure this policy is updated regularly for maximum impact,” said Dykstra.

“This effort has been a true collaboration that has seen competitors working together to bring not only science but strategy to the table to address this important issue” said Sweeney.

The Council members collectively fund nearly half a million dollars in Blue Swimming Crab sustainability work annually and have received three grants from the World Bank’s Allfish program.

“The work they fund and this new industry-leading, minimum-size policy has moved us to tell companies we work with that NFI Crab Council members are helping improve Blue Swimming Crab fisheries, and are responsible suppliers,” said Howard Johnson, Director of Global Programs for the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership.

The Council is considering expanding its efforts from Indonesia and the Philippines to other countries.