Safeguarding Indonesian blue swimming crab fisheries

Asosiasi Pengelolaan Rajungan Indonesia (APRI) and the Indonesia Madura Island blue swimmer crab trap fishery

Amount awarded: £49,353

This project will help the Indonesian Madura Island blue swimming crab fishery enter full MSC assessment by September 2022.

The fishery is based in Madura Island in the East Java Province of Indonesia. It is a vital part of the island’s economy. Nearly 250,000 people in Madura rely on the blue swimming crab for their livelihoods, including providing employment to many local women as processors.

Blue swimming crabs are a valuable commodity and were heavily exploited throughout the 1990s. Since 2008, the amount landed, and average size of the crabs have both declined. This is impacting both the local ecosystem and the coastal communities like Madura who rely on the crabs as an important source of income.

The fishery has been in a fishery improvement project (FIP) for several years, led by APRI. With its progress now verified through the In-Transition to MSC Program, it has become eligible for our Transition Assistance Fund.

The fishery is also supported through the Fish for Good program; a four year project supporting more than 25 fisheries across Indonesia, South Africa and Mexico to improve their fishing practices towards sustainability.

This Ocean Stewardship Funded project will help the fishery develop and implement a rebuilding plan for the crabs. This will focus on improving important management systems, called harvest strategies or harvest control rules, and carrying out accurate stock assessments.

The project will also be improving the selectivity of traps through the addition of escape vents. This ensures juvenile blue swimming crabs can easily escape. Interactions with endangered, threatened and protected (ETP) species will also be monitored and the impact of the fishery on the wider ecosystem analysed using environmental DNA.

The Ocean Stewardship Fund will give us an opportunity to keep progressing the sustainability of the blue swimming crab fishery. We will be able to collaborate with scientists to carry out research that will support a healthy ocean.

Hawis Madduppa, Associate Professor, Department of Marine Science & Technology at IPB University APRI

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