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Increased awareness and improved governance are propelling the Indonesian blue swimmer crab fishery towards a more secure and sustainable future for the stocks and the community.

  • Develop a system to rebuild crab stocks and introduce strategies to prevent overfishing
  • Continue improving the selectivity of fishing gear to reduce bycatch
  • Improve regional fishery governance

Start date: October 2023

£49,976.35 GBP

Transition Assistance Fund


Indonesia Blue Swimmer Crab Association (APRI), IPB University, Bogor, Indonesia


Indonesia Madura Island blue swimmer crab trap fishery

A second grant for further progress

Blue swimmer crabs are among the highest export value commodities in Indonesia. To meet international demand, fisheries expanded rapidly during the 1990s, but since 2008 statistics show the stock has been heavily exploited. This threatened the local ecosystem, the national economy and the coastal communities that depended on the crabs for their livelihoods.

To reverse the effects of overfishing, the Indonesia Madura Island blue swimmer crab fishery collaborated with an NGO, the Indonesia Blue Swimmer Crab Association (APRI), to improve its environmental performance and meet the MSC Fisheries Standard. In 2020, the fishery joined the In-Transition to MSC program, which supports fisheries making verifiable progress towards MSC certification.

The fishery was awarded a Transition Assistance Fund grant in 2021 to rebuild stocks and improve awareness of and minimise “ghost fishing”, which occurs through discarded gear. The grant also funded research protocols to reduce the fishery’s interactions with Endangered, Threatened and Protected (ETP) species, and established committees for enhanced regional governance and compliance.

In late 2023 the fishery was granted its second grant, which it is using it to build on the quantifiable progress made.

Hands with plastic ruler measuring crab over crate

What the project will do

Through their action plan, the Madura Island fishery aims to continue with its Harvest Strategy and the implementation of Harvest Control Rules. Robust stock assessments and a rebuilding program will ensure crabs are fished at a sustainable rate. A vessel tracking system to monitor fishing grounds will be progressed and its data will provide insights on the range and habitats of the crabs. In turn, this will inform the development of a conservation zone, habitat restoration and enhancement programs.

“The improvement project has comprehensively developed since 2014 and now, through funding, the project could be[come] one with the best practices in sustainable management.”

Ayu Ervinia, Research Director


To further combat the bycatch of non-target or ETP species, the community will undertake workshops on gear modifications, selectivity and restrictions. New management measures will be put in place to improve post-capture handling methods for non-target species.

Finally, the local management of the fishery will be expanded as a co-management program at both local and national levels. Informed decision-making processes will improve enforcement and compliance of the rules.