Let's not jeopardize the future of our Malagasy crab
For the Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, “crab is one of our beautiful country’s treasures. It is also a renewable treasure, on the condition that the industry contains thoughtful management that considers the future.” Madagascar produced 6,018 tonnes of crab in 2017, of which most was exported.
But not everything is rosy. Madafish, an export company based in Morondava, argues that a large proportion of the crabs that it receives do not meet the 11cm minimum width requirement. These crabs then flood the local market. What’s more, the destruction of mangroves and unofficial crab collections have damaged the sustainability of the industry and price stability respectively. “We risk jeopardizing the future of a sector that could pull our economy towards high growth,” the minister asserted.
Crabs are purchased from small fishermen by collectors for around 2500 ariary (less than a dollar per kilo). They are then sold for between 8 and 11 euros in Europe (between 32,000 and 44,000 ariary). Therefore, it is economic as well as ecological issues that make it imperative that the crab industry is thoughtfully and sustainably managed.
With the support of WWF and Blue Ventures, the network of locally managed marine areas (MIHARI) in southwestern and midwestern Madagascar reached agreement over these two days. During the meeting participants discussed innovative new crab fishing techniques, as well as how to best reduce post-harvest losses and recover catches. Finally, fishermen and collectors discussed the industry’s future with exporting companies and the Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources.