Last updated on 30 January 2018

SUMMARY

SUMMARY

IDENTIFICATION

SCIENTIFIC NAME(s)

Portunus pelagicus

SPECIES NAME(s)

Blue swimming crab, Flower crab

COMMON NAMES

blue manna crab, sand crab, blue crab, horse crab

The stock structure for Blue swimming crab in the Philippines is the subject of much uncertainty (Sienes et al., 2014).  Overall two units are recognized one in the Visayan Sea and adjoining seas and the other in Tawi-tawi waters (Taylor, 2013). This profile represents the Philippine Blue Swimming Crab Management Unit and includes both areas.


ANALYSIS

Strengths
  • A comprehensive management plan is starting to take shape
  • Research is ongoing on several different fronts
  • A monitoring system is in place for landings
Weaknesses
  • Stock structure is not well understood
  • There are indications of stock decline
  • There is no analytic assessment reference points or quotas
  • Compliance and enforcement is an issue
  • Known impacts to critically endangered marine mammals; as well as sharks and other species

FISHSOURCE SCORES

Management Quality:

Management Strategy:

≥ 6

Managers Compliance:

≥ 6

Fishers Compliance:

< 6

Stock Health:

Current
Health:

< 6

Future Health:

< 6


RECOMMENDATIONS

RETAILERS & SUPPLY CHAIN
  • Participate in and promote research to determine the stock structure throughout the Philippines.
  • Develop and implement a stock assessment programme to assess all stocks based on the best available science, and develop appropriate stock-specific management advice.
  • Press regulators to develop and implement a management plan (including a harvest strategy and reference points) and fully enforce existing regulations in all areas. The management plan should be sensitive to regional differences in the stocks, fisheries and socio-economic needs.
  • Implement product specifications and/or a Control Document to help address specific sustainability or compliance issues in the fishery (e.g. undersized or berried crabs entering the supply chain).
  • Establish a comprehensive data collection programme that includes bycatch and non-target species catch (both ETP and non-ETP species), as well as information on habitats and ecosystem.
  • Press regulators to implement necessary mitigation measures to reduce the known impacts on protected and endangered species, specifically including the critically endangered Irrawaddy dolphin.
  • Promote local participation in developing responsible crab fishing, and encourage further localised management measures, including voluntary no-take zones and the protection of crab habitat (e.g. seagrass beds).
  • Encourage the government to fully implement the management provisions recommended in the ‘Philippine Blue Swimming Crab Fisheries Improvement Project (FIP) Workplan 2017-2018’ on minimum catch size, allowable gear mesh sizes, prohibition on trading of egg-bearing crabs, fishing closures, and catch quotas. 
  • Ensure that the fishery fully complies with the current ‘Joint Administrative Order on the Conservation of Blue Swimming Crab’ and continue to encourage cities and municipalities to translate the Joint Administrative Order into local ordinances.
  • Support PACPI (Philippine Association of Crab Processors) regional presence and improvement efforts in all blue swimming crab fisheries.

FIPS

  • Philippines blue swimming crab:

    Stage 4, Progress Rating B

CERTIFICATIONS

No related MSC fisheries

Fisheries

Within FishSource, the term "fishery" is used to indicate each unique combination of a flag country with a fishing gear, operating within a particular management unit, upon a resource. That resource may have a known biological stock structure and/or may be assessed at another level for practical or jurisdictional reasons. A fishery is the finest scale of resolution captured in FishSource profiles, as it is generally the scale at which sustainability can most fairly and practically be evaluated.

MANAGEMENT UNIT FLAG COUNTRY FISHING GEAR
Philippines Philippines Bottom trawls
Gillnets and entangling nets
Pots

Analysis

OVERVIEW

Strengths
  • A comprehensive management plan is starting to take shape
  • Research is ongoing on several different fronts
  • A monitoring system is in place for landings
Weaknesses
  • Stock structure is not well understood
  • There are indications of stock decline
  • There is no analytic assessment reference points or quotas
  • Compliance and enforcement is an issue
  • Known impacts to critically endangered marine mammals; as well as sharks and other species
RECOMMENDATIONS

Last updated on 24 September 2018

Recommendations to Retailers & Supply Chain
  • Participate in and promote research to determine the stock structure throughout the Philippines.
  • Develop and implement a stock assessment programme to assess all stocks based on the best available science, and develop appropriate stock-specific management advice.
  • Press regulators to develop and implement a management plan (including a harvest strategy and reference points) and fully enforce existing regulations in all areas. The management plan should be sensitive to regional differences in the stocks, fisheries and socio-economic needs.
  • Implement product specifications and/or a Control Document to help address specific sustainability or compliance issues in the fishery (e.g. undersized or berried crabs entering the supply chain).
  • Establish a comprehensive data collection programme that includes bycatch and non-target species catch (both ETP and non-ETP species), as well as information on habitats and ecosystem.
  • Press regulators to implement necessary mitigation measures to reduce the known impacts on protected and endangered species, specifically including the critically endangered Irrawaddy dolphin.
  • Promote local participation in developing responsible crab fishing, and encourage further localised management measures, including voluntary no-take zones and the protection of crab habitat (e.g. seagrass beds).
  • Encourage the government to fully implement the management provisions recommended in the ‘Philippine Blue Swimming Crab Fisheries Improvement Project (FIP) Workplan 2017-2018’ on minimum catch size, allowable gear mesh sizes, prohibition on trading of egg-bearing crabs, fishing closures, and catch quotas. 
  • Ensure that the fishery fully complies with the current ‘Joint Administrative Order on the Conservation of Blue Swimming Crab’ and continue to encourage cities and municipalities to translate the Joint Administrative Order into local ordinances.
  • Support PACPI (Philippine Association of Crab Processors) regional presence and improvement efforts in all blue swimming crab fisheries.

1.STOCK STATUS

STOCK ASSESSMENT

Last updated on 30 January 2018

A formal stock assessment on the national level is not currently in place. Some studies (de la Cruz, M et al. 2015)(GMA 2017)(Mayuga 2017)(Mesa et al. n.d.)(Taylor, 2013)(Unknown 2015) have been conducted, with indicate that the stock is over exploited, with both declining crab size and a decrease in the catch per unit effort.

SCIENTIFIC ADVICE

Last updated on 30 January 2018

Because of a lack of a national assessment, reference points, and other information and scientific advice on catch advice is not available(de la Cruz, M et al. 2015)(Mesa et al. n.d.)(Unknown 2015).  However, some advice on minimum sizes, removal of berried females, and other advice has been given and followed (BFAR 2013).

Reference points have not been advised or set at the national level (BFAR 2013). Preliminary exploration of MSY based reference points has commenced however (NFICC 2017)(PACPI 2016)(PACPI 2017)(The World Bank 2012).

CURRENT STATUS

Last updated on 30 January 2018

Multiple reports (de la Cruz, M et al. 2015)(Mesa et al. n.d.)(Taylor, 2013)(Unknown 2015)as well as stakeholder input (GMA 2017)(Mayuga 2017)(NFICC 2017)(PACPI 2017)(Philippine Star n.d.)(PIA 2017) suggest that at a national level blue swimming crabs are over-harvested and suffering from a decline in abundance.

Given the lack of data, trends in blue swimming crabs is difficult to discern. The general consensus is that abundance is declining, with exploitation increasing (de la Cruz, M et al. 2015)(Mesa et al. 2017)(Taylor, 2013)(Unknown 2015). Decreases in Catch per Unit effort masking the stable trend in catch over the last 5 years. Additionally crab size in the fishery is also decreasing, a measure indicating lower abundance (Mesa et al. 2017)(Unknown 2015).

2.MANAGEMENT QUALITY

MANAGEMENT

Last updated on 30 January 2018

Nationally  managers use size limits, gear, closed areas, and seasons to limit the catch. Berried females are prohibited from being captured and sold, with some being moved to holding facilities as an augmentation program.  Mangers also require monthly reporting for dealers to adequately document catch and have set the size limit lower than the size at maturity(BFAR 2013)(Taylor, 2013). However, some indications are that the effectiveness of these on reducing removals is very limited due to enforcement (Mesa et al. 2017)(Taylor, 2013). Size limits for example appear to be low enough to prevent the capture of immature crabs but are routinely found in the catch (Mesa et al. 2017). Overall enforcement and compliance by harvesters is low (see below). Some local managment is also in effect (Taylor, 2013)

A national recovery plan is not in effect. However the National government has instituted  a re-stocking program, protected habitat, as well as other measures to increase the abundance of blue swimming crab (BFAR 2013)(GMA 2017)(Mayuga 2017)(NFICC 2017)(PACPI 2017)(Philippine Star n.d.)(PIA 2017)(Taylor, 2013)

COMPLIANCE

Last updated on 30 January 2018

Enforcement and compliance by harvesters is thought to be very low (GMA 2017)(Mayuga 2017)(Philippine Star n.d.)(PIA 2017)(Taylor, 2013)(The World Bank 2012). Size limits for example appear to be low enough to prevent the capture of immature crabs  but immature crabs are routinely found in the catch (Mesa et al. 2017).

3.ENVIRONMENT AND BIODIVERSITY

BYCATCH
ETP Species

Last updated on 30 January 2018

This fishery is know to have direct impacts  to Irrawaddy dolphins  which number less than 100 individuals in area waters , and is listed as endangered (Gonzales and Matillano 2008)(IUCN 2004)(Taylor, 2013). Irrawaddy dolphins may feed on crabs, increasing the interaction with gillnet and pot gear. Trawl and pot gear may also impact sea turtles in the area (Gonzales and Matillano 2008)(Taylor, 2013), as well as Elasmobranchs (Jimely Flores 2005)​​. All gear types may also interact with protected invertebrate species including members of the genera Cassis, Lambis, Charonia, Turbo and Murex.  However the level of interaction has not been quantified (Philippines Association of Crab Producers Inc. (PACPI) 2015).

Other Species

Last updated on 30 January 2018

Information on bycatch in this fishery is limited (Taylor, 2013). Pot gear may catch other invertebrates as well as some fishes. Gill net and trawl gear are likely more problematic, with the former having some incidence of shark bycatch recorded ((Taylor, 2013)Flores 2004). There is little managment action with reguard to bycatch in this fishery (Taylor, 2013).

HABITAT

Last updated on 30 January 2018

Overall the effect of the fishery on the habitat in the area is not well documented (Taylor, 2013). Trawls are of most concern, while gillnets and pots may have less habitat impacts (Taylor, 2013).

The Philippines has a number of marine protected areas in its EEZ (MPAAtlas.org 2017). Additionally there are closed areas to fishing for BSC seasonally (BFAR 2013)

ECOSYSTEM

Crabs can be an important food choice for many demersal fish and benthic invertebrates, but little information is available with regards to ecosystem processes in the area (Taylor, 2013).

FishSource Scores

SELECT SCORES

MANAGEMENT QUALITY

Different components of this unascertained score differently at the fishery level. Please look at the individual fisheries using the selection drop down above.

Different components of this unascertained score differently at the fishery level. Please look at the individual fisheries using the selection drop down above.

Different components of this unascertained score differently at the fishery level. Please look at the individual fisheries using the selection drop down above.

STOCK HEALTH:

Different components of this unascertained score differently at the fishery level. Please look at the individual fisheries using the selection drop down above.

Different components of this unascertained score differently at the fishery level. Please look at the individual fisheries using the selection drop down above.

ECOSYSTEM IMPACTS

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×

Bycatch Subscores

Information on bycatch in this fishery is very limited (Taylor, 2013).

Different components has different justification at the fishery level. Please look at the individual fisheries using the selection drop down above.

Different components has different justification at the fishery level. Please look at the individual fisheries using the selection drop down above.

There is little managment action with reguard to bycatch in this fishery(Taylor, 2013).

×

Habitat Subscores

The effect of the fishery on the habitat in the area is not well documented (Taylor, 2013).

Little information on habitat, particularly sensitive habitat in the area where fishing is conducted, is available (Taylor, 2013).

Different components has different justification at the fishery level. Please look at the individual fisheries using the selection drop down above.

Different components has different justification at the fishery level. Please look at the individual fisheries using the selection drop down above.

×

Ecosystem Subscores

Information on impacts are not available (Taylor, 2013). ​

Information is not available (Taylor, 2013)

Different components has different justification at the fishery level. Please look at the individual fisheries using the selection drop down above.

Different components has different justification at the fishery level. Please look at the individual fisheries using the selection drop down above.

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DATA NOTES

Last updated on 28 January 2018

Download Source Data

Registered users can download the original data file for calculating the scores after logging in. If you wish, you can Register now.

Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs)

SELECT FIP

Access FIP Public Report

Progress Rating: B
Evaluation Start Date: 28 Jan 2013
Type: Basic

Comments:

FIP remains B rated . Last stage 4 achievement more than 12 months ago but last stage 3 achievement within 12 months.

1.
FIP Development
May 15
2.
FIP Launch
Jan 09
Jun 18
3.
FIP Implementation
Sep 17
4.
Improvements in Fishing Practices and Fishery Management
Aug 18
5.
Improvements on the Water
Verifiable improvement on the water
6.
MSC certification (optional)
MSC certificate made public

Certifications

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)

No related MSC certifications

Sources

Credits
  1. DA-BFAR, 2003. In Turbulent Seas: The Status of Philippine Marine Fisheries. Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Fisheries and Marine Aquatic Resources.http://oneocean.org/download/db_files/fshprofl.pdf
  2. FAO, 2008. Fishery Statistics Programme: Global Capture Production. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.http://www.fao.org/fishery/statistics/global-capture-production/en
  3. Lim, C.P., Y. Matsuda and Y. Shigemi. 1996. Problems and Constraints in Philippine Municipal Fisheries: the Case of San Miguel Bay, Camarines Sur. Environmental Management Vol. 19, No.6, pp.837-852http://www.upd.edu.ph
  4. Sienes, P.M.Q., Willette, D.A., Romena, L.R., Alvior, C.G.,and J.S. Estacion. 2014. Genetic diversity and the discovery of a putative cryptic species within a valued crab fishery, Portunus pelagicus (Linnaeus 1758), in the Philippines. Philippine Science Letters 7(2): 317-323.http://philsciletters.org/2014/PSL%202014-vol07-no02-p317-323%20Sienes.pdf
  5. Silliman University. 2001. SUAKCREM Program of Study for 2001 – 2005. Environmental Happenings April 2001. Vol.3 No.2http://www.su.edu.ph/suakcrem/vol3-2.htm
  6. Smith, B.D. & Beasley, I. 2004. Orcaella brevirostris (Malampaya Sound subpopulation). In: IUCN 2011. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2. [Accessed on 28 February 2012.]http://www.iucnredlist.org/apps/redlist/details/44187/0
  7. White, A.T. and A.B.T. Meneses. 2006. MPA Perspective: Paper Parks in the Philippines: Improved Information Tells a New Story.MPA NEWSVol. 7, No. 6December 2005/January 2006http://depts.washington.edu/mpanews/MPA70.htm
        References

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          Blue swimming crab - Philippines

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