A new start for blue swimming crab fishery in Kien Giang province, Vietnam



Posted on 15 September 2013  | 
Swimming crab in Vietnam accounts for US$ 110 million in exports in 2010, with primary products are red and blue swimming crabs, where blue swimming crabs center being Kien Giang Province. The fishery involves around 20,000 fishers from coastal areas in the province, but mainly focusing in Ha Tien and Phu Quoc districts. These fishers are mostly poor and are highly dependent of fishing for their livelihood.

The dangers of inadequate fisheries management could result over-exploitation, with an impact of other species, where this fishery may have some interactions. It is therefore very important to explore ways of improving the current management system in order to preserve the long term livelihood for dependent fishing communities. To help maintain the long-term sustainability of this valuable natural resource, the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) and VASEP Crab Council with support from WWF-Vietnam, have initiated a Fishery Improvement Project (FIP) for blue swimming crabs in Kien Giang province, South of the Mekong Delta, to support the fisheries achieve a sustainable future, and with the aim becoming recognised as accredited fishery under the Marine Stewardship Council certification scheme. The objective of the project is to maintain a sustainable volume of blue swimming crabs in Kien Giang province, facilitate a favorable environment for an effective management and participation amongst the stakeholders, strengthen enforcement through co-management.

The decision to proceed towards MSC was taken in 2010 and started implementing from November 2012, supported by the Kien Giang DARD, VASEP Crab Council and WWF. Technical and financial support has been provided from WWF-US and WWF-Vietnam, for the design of a FIP Action Plan which will take the fishery towards an MSC standard by 2016. Actions required are:
• A stock assessment
• The creation of sustainable management measures to protect the blue swimming crab from over-exploitation
• Strengthening data collection to feed into stock assessment and provide inputs for the fisheries management
• Exploration of the fishery impacts on habitats and other species including, among other things turtles
• Creation and functioning of a Crab Management Council (CMC)
• Adoption of co-management amongst the fishermen;
• Strengthening of DARDs role as the principal fishery manager

The progress, to date, has been assessed by an MSC expert through a stakeholder workshop held in Kien Giang on August 8th - 9th 2013, with the participation of all stakeholders including fishermen, enterpreneurs, scientists, managers and conservationists. The workshop received some early results from the fishery scientists from Research Institute of Marine Fisheries (RIMF), and identified a number of areas that required strengthening including the functionality of the CMC. All stakeholders involved expressed a strong commitment to the promotion of better fishing practices, improving the management and strengthening the scientific research. The workshop also identified the need of a comprehensive communication strategy to raise awareness amongst local communities about the scarce of natural resources, over-exploitation of blue swimming crab, sustainable fishing practices and other related issues so as to ensure a sustainable future for the fishery.

Mr. Tran Chi Vien, vice director of DARD Kien Giang said: “DARD Kien Giang will try best to cooperate with VASEP Crab Council and WWF-VN to continue the FIP for blue swmming crab fisheries in Kien Giang in order to strengthening the management efectiveness for the fisheries and maintain a sustainable stock for the crab resource, sustainable livelihood for fishermen, aiming at the MSC certification after the project completion.”
 
Measuring adult blue swimming crab
© @WWF-Vietnam Enlarge

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