In areas where ordinance that prohibits catching of holding berried crabs exists, it was observed that fishermen has the tendency to remove and throw the eggs of crabs they catch rather than return berried crabs to the sea. This suggests a need to feed their families for the day or to at least recover the expense incurred while setting their crab nets and crab pots. To prevent this from happening, PACPI thought of an approach that could help keep the crab population healthy without depriving the fishermen of their livelihood, drawing from the experience of fishermen in Cadiz City who held berried crabs in “crab condominium” and also from Thailand where berried crabs were held in cages.
In 2010, PACPI members has begun installing cages in Talibon, Bohol. At present, young blue swimming crabs have been sighted in intertidal flats near the cages during low tide. Cages were also installed in many other sites in Bohol and as well as in other areas like Bantayan, Villareal, Catbalogan, Manapla, Calabanga, New Escalante, Ajuy, Concepcion and Carles. However, at the second quarter of this year, cages in the Iloilo area were pulled out due to the approval of an ordinance which prohibits the possession of egg-bearing crab.
As of December 2011, the total estimated number of eggs released from the cages to the wild was pegged at 50 billion eggs. Assuming that only .04% of these eggs survive to be mature crabs, that is still 20 million crabs or 4 million kilograms (at 5 crabs per kilogram). From January 2011 to June of 2012, eggs released to the wild is estimated to be around 20 billion eggs.
The installation of submerged berried crab holding cages, coupled with information and education campaign are initiatives that are aimed at preparing the fishermen for the widespread implementation of minimum size limits and the possibility of periodic crabbing closure in selected areas after the BFAR Blue Swimming Crab Management Plan is finalized.