Stock enhancement is seen as a possible approach to restore dwindling stocks of blue swimming crabs. This technique is widely used to replenish vulnerable or exploited stocks caused by overfishing as well as to mitigate the impacts that could possibly result from excessive environmental disturbance. PACPI aimed to release thousands of hatchery-bred blue crab juveniles into the wild to support stock enhancement activities in major crab landing sites in the country.
In 2011, PACPI, in collaboration with BFAR 8, supported the establishment of BSC hatchery in Guiuan, Samar through the Guiuan Marine Fisheries Research and Development Center (GMFRDC). Following the success of hatchery production in Sulawesi, Indonesia, PACPI sent two BFAR hatchery personnel to acquire technical skills in the culture of the species. Two more personnel were also deployed to work hand-in-hand in the operation of the BSC Hatchery in Guiuan.
The first crab dispersal was held in Bagunbanwa Marine Sanctuary in Guiuan. More than 2,000 juveniles were released. From 2012-2013, a total of 12,639 juvenile crabs were produced and released subsequently in 7 sites in Samar. The onslaught of typhoon Yolanda (“Haiyan”) in November 2013 destroyed the hatchery. Little has been recovered since then.
In 2013, PACPI started operating an independent blue swimming crab hatchery in Tigbauan, Iloilo. Initial production trials in January yielded 10,700 crabs and in September of the same year, 61,000 crabs were produced. In 2014, 407,109 hatchery seeds were produced. With the participation of Iloilo Provincial Government and local governments, reseeding activities were successfully conducted in the region covering the Visayan Sea, an important fishing ground of BSC. Few thousands were stocked in culture ponds in U.P. Visayas and SEAFDEC for research purposes.