June 5, 2017 – Various stakeholders’ consultations were conducted between the months of March to May 2017 to call for blue swimming crab area zoning in Danajon Bank, Bohol in lieu with the proper implementation of Gear Swap Program (GSP).

From March to May of 2017, PACPI and BFAR joined hands to intensify information campaign on the biology and habitat of BSC and its importance to the success of GSP and the FIP efforts. In three separate occasions participated by fisherfolk organizations, LGUs and Sangguniang Bayan representatives, PACPI and BFAR lobbied for the inclusion of BSC zoning in municipal fishery codes to allow for smoother implementation of sustainability measures. LGUs have the sole jurisdiction of municipal waters, and thus the sole authorities to implement and enforce ordinances.

In a meeting held in BFAR Provincial Fisheries Office in Tagbilaran City last February 27, 2017, a proposal to include BSC area zoning in municipal ordinances of the three pilot sites Talibon, Inabanga and Getafe was discussed. Following a survey conducted in October-December 2016, several fishers still reported using lift nets and thus collection of juveniles continue.

Blue swimming crabs thrive in sandy or sandy-muddy waters of intertidal zones. At the earliest life stages, crabs seek shelter and protection in mangroves, seagrasses, and algal beds while adults are found mostly in greater depths (> 5 meters). The sea bottom allows them to burrow and feed on decaying organic matter. Fishing activities that occur in gleaning and shallow areas less than 5 meters and in the absence of zoning in municipal waters, are likely to pose threat to the crab population in the long run. Hence, a resolution that would enable establishment BSC area zoning in Danajon Bank proved critical.

The Joint Administrative Order no. 1 s. 2014 on the Regulation for the Conservation of Blue Swimming Crab supports provisions on gear and fishing area regulations as stated in Section 3.4., in this case fish zones, based on sound scientific evidence and/or the precautionary approach to fisheries management.