Profile updated on 30 November 2017

SUMMARY

SUMMARY

IDENTIFICATION

SCIENTIFIC NAME(s)

Portunus pelagicus

SPECIES NAME(s)

Blue swimming crab, Flower crab

Most of the information in this profile relates to the fishery in Kien Giang province, close to the border with Cambodia, as available information focuses on this area. No studies of the stock structure of the species in the region could be located and no regional assessment is conducted. Please refer to sections under the Kien Giang Management Unit to find the most detailed information.


ANALYSIS

Strengths
  • Three annual stock assessments have now been conducted
  • The most recent stock assessment (2015) indicated a small increase in the estimated biomass, and slight decrease in effort since the previous year (2014)
  • There is a fishery observer program and based on risk assessment, the fishing method appears to have minimal impact on most non-target species.
  • The management authority appears to be strong and sufficiently well resourced to undertake monitoring, control and surveillance activities.
  • There are already some government regulations including a minimum landing size, seasonal closures, and gear restrictions.
  • A community co-managment system is under development; an operational Crab Advisory Council (CAC) has already been established
  • Initiatives to improve stock assessment, managment, and fishery compliance are ongoing under the Kien Giang Blue Swimming Crab FIP 
Weaknesses
  • While fishing effort appears to have decreased slightly in the most recent assessment, it is still indicated to be over sustainable limits
  • Measures to limit effort are still not optimally implemented or effective, despite improvements
  • Chinese traps disproportionately exploit smaller, immature crab, and this gear is responsible for an increasing portion of the overall catch
  • Stock assessments are not yet robust enough to allow for an abundance based harvest control strategy
  • Based on a 2009 MSC Pre Assessment, the fishery was not recommended to proceed to full assessment.
  • Many key factors remain in need of resolution for the fishery to be able to undergo MSC assessment: signs of over-exploitation, a lack of precautionary management measures applied that would prevent a decline in the biomass, insufficient information available to allow for an assessment of impacts on other retained species, bycatch species, habitats and ecosystems; lack of a mechanism to limit expansion in fishing effort. Restrictions in place would require strengthening, and evidence of compliance.
  • While the fishery is indicated to have minor impacts on bycatch species, some interactions need to be carefully monitored (e.g. brownbanded bamboo shark which is "near threatened" according to the IUCN).
  • There is a need for increased publically available reporting on bycatch, habitat and ecosystem monitoring and evaluation.

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 Vietnam.
  • 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 fully implement the management plan (including a harvest strategy and reference points). 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 crab and seasonal closures).
  • Encourage regulators to better enforce seasonal closures, demarcated areas for particular gear/vessel types, and the minimum landing size (10 cm carapace width).
  • Ensure regulators prohibit fishing gears that target or predominantly catch undersized crabs; and regulate for all other fishing gears to minimise the capture of crabs less that the minimum landing size.
  • Develop the existing observer programme into a comprehensive data collection programme that includes bycatch and non-target species catch (both ETP and non-ETP species), and initiate a data collection program for habitats and ecosystem.
  • Support ongoing efforts to foster 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).
  • Implement the activities and milestones required in the FIP Action Plan, integrating changes and clarifying any areas of uncertainty identified during the FIP review meeting in December 2016.

FIPS

  • Vietnam blue swimming crab - bottom gillnet/pot/trap:

    Stage 5, Progress Rating A

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
Vietnam Viet Nam Gillnets and entangling nets
Pots

Analysis

OVERVIEW

Strengths
  • Three annual stock assessments have now been conducted
  • The most recent stock assessment (2015) indicated a small increase in the estimated biomass, and slight decrease in effort since the previous year (2014)
  • There is a fishery observer program and based on risk assessment, the fishing method appears to have minimal impact on most non-target species.
  • The management authority appears to be strong and sufficiently well resourced to undertake monitoring, control and surveillance activities.
  • There are already some government regulations including a minimum landing size, seasonal closures, and gear restrictions.
  • A community co-managment system is under development; an operational Crab Advisory Council (CAC) has already been established
  • Initiatives to improve stock assessment, managment, and fishery compliance are ongoing under the Kien Giang Blue Swimming Crab FIP 
Weaknesses
  • While fishing effort appears to have decreased slightly in the most recent assessment, it is still indicated to be over sustainable limits
  • Measures to limit effort are still not optimally implemented or effective, despite improvements
  • Chinese traps disproportionately exploit smaller, immature crab, and this gear is responsible for an increasing portion of the overall catch
  • Stock assessments are not yet robust enough to allow for an abundance based harvest control strategy
  • Based on a 2009 MSC Pre Assessment, the fishery was not recommended to proceed to full assessment.
  • Many key factors remain in need of resolution for the fishery to be able to undergo MSC assessment: signs of over-exploitation, a lack of precautionary management measures applied that would prevent a decline in the biomass, insufficient information available to allow for an assessment of impacts on other retained species, bycatch species, habitats and ecosystems; lack of a mechanism to limit expansion in fishing effort. Restrictions in place would require strengthening, and evidence of compliance.
  • While the fishery is indicated to have minor impacts on bycatch species, some interactions need to be carefully monitored (e.g. brownbanded bamboo shark which is "near threatened" according to the IUCN).
  • There is a need for increased publically available reporting on bycatch, habitat and ecosystem monitoring and evaluation.
RECOMMENDATIONS

Last updated on 24 September 2018

Recommendations to Retailers & Supply Chain
  • Participate in and promote research to determine the stock structure throughout the Vietnam.
  • 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 fully implement the management plan (including a harvest strategy and reference points). 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 crab and seasonal closures).
  • Encourage regulators to better enforce seasonal closures, demarcated areas for particular gear/vessel types, and the minimum landing size (10 cm carapace width).
  • Ensure regulators prohibit fishing gears that target or predominantly catch undersized crabs; and regulate for all other fishing gears to minimise the capture of crabs less that the minimum landing size.
  • Develop the existing observer programme into a comprehensive data collection programme that includes bycatch and non-target species catch (both ETP and non-ETP species), and initiate a data collection program for habitats and ecosystem.
  • Support ongoing efforts to foster 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).
  • Implement the activities and milestones required in the FIP Action Plan, integrating changes and clarifying any areas of uncertainty identified during the FIP review meeting in December 2016.

1.STOCK STATUS

STOCK ASSESSMENT

A stock assessment of blue swimming crab (BSC) in the waters of Kien Giang Province in 2013 (Ha et al. 2014) marked the first study of its kind for the species in the Sea of Vietnam. Data for the study was collected from landing surveys, fisher logbooks, on board surveys, and random biological sampling of commercial catch data.  Biological data was used to estimate size distribution, size-weight relationship, size at first maturity, sex ratio, and spawning season. Fishery data was assessed to estimate total annual catch and catch per unit effort, as well as spatial and temporal distribution of catches, fleet and gear specific catch rates and bycatch statistics.  Biomass and fishing mortality (F) were estimated via length cohort analysis based on length frequency data, growth parameters, estimated natural mortality, and total annual catch. Fishing mortality reference points Fmsy and F0.1 were estimated via Yield per Recruit analysis (Beverton and Holt model).

Updated assessments of the stock condition in 2014 (Ha et al. 2015, report unavailable) and 2015 (Ha et al. 2016) have been conducted.  As of January 15, 2018, there were no more recently published stock assessments available. The 2013 stock assessment was reportedly reviewed by at least one independent scientist (Poseidon ARM Ltd. 2014).

Continued development and regular updating of stock assessments is a priority detailed within the Kien Giang Fishery Improvement Project (FIP) action plan (Poseidon ARM Ltd. 2017) .  Specific actions needed to strengthen the stock assessment include assessment of stock and fishery independence with surrounding fisheries, evaluation of how well management actions are achieving their objectives, re-assessment of the number of active fishing vessels in the fishery, development of the model to estimate fishery reference points and performance in terms of biomass rather than fishing mortality, incorporation of statistical error in the model, and consideration of error (statistical and otherwise) when developing harvest control rules.

SCIENTIFIC ADVICE

Scientific advice to date has been taken from stock assessments developed by scientists at the Research Institute for Marine Fisheries (RIMF) (Ha et al. 2016)(Ha et al. 2014)(Ha et al. 2016) .  As of the most recent stock assessment, there were only 3 years of biomass estimates available, and abundance based reference points had not yet been developed; thus objectives continue to be framed in terms of fishing mortality and effort management. Since the initial assessment, advice has focused on effort reduction strategies for meeting objectives for fishing mortality "F" or exploitation coefficient (exploitation ratio) "E" . 

The 2015 assessment specifically recommended the elimination of Chinese traps, which exploit large numbers of juvenile crab, as well as measures to avoid fishing on nursery grounds after peak spawning, in order to optimize potential regeneration and recovery of the stock (Ha et al. 2016) .

Reference Points

The 2013 stock assessment identified target (Fmsy = 0.8) and precautionary (F0.1 = 0.6) reference points, based on Yield per Recruit analysis (Ha et al. 2014) . The comparative fishing mortality estimate at the time, Fcurrent , was estimated to be 0.1. Updates to the YPR analysis have not been presented in subsequent stock assessments (Ha et al. 2016)(Ha et al. 2016) , which have reported the exploitation coefficient "E" from length cohort analyses as the relative indicator of fishing effort.

Viet Nam
Pots

The 2015 assessment specifically recommended the elimination of Chinese traps, which exploit large numbers of juvenile crab (Ha et al. 2016) .

CURRENT STATUS

The only published reference points for this stock relate to fishing mortality; biological reference points against which current biomass estimates can be directly compared are not available. Based on the 2013 stock assessment, the stock was overexploited, with Fcurrent exceeding Fmsy by 20%, and the exploitation rate "E" 14% over the assumed optimal rate of 0.5. The most recent available stock assessment (Ha et al. 2016) indicated that effort had since decreased to 10% over the optimal threshold, and biomass had increased from 5,200 tonnes in 2014 to 6,100 tonnes in 2015 (though still less than the 7,100 tonnes estimated in 2013).  It was noted in the 2016 FIP Action Plan (Poseidon ARM Ltd. 2017) that the status of the stock was now considered to be above the limit reference point. However, the specific benchmarks and statistics informing this determination are not explicit in FIP documents, or in the 2015 or 2016 stock assessment reports (Ha et al. 2016)(Ha et al. 2016) . A decreasing trend is observed in the proportion of immature versus mature crab in the stock biomass from 2013 to 2015 (Ha et al. 2016)

Trends

The fishery supports a workforce numbering in the dozens of thousands (Ha et al. 2016) . In 2009, it was estimated that there were 3,823 fishing vessels in the Kien Giang BSC fleet (Ha et al. 2014). A survey of the fleet in 2013 found there were 1,718 vessels registered for BSC fisheries.  

Size and catch rates of BSC vary by fleet, gear, area and time of year (BSC are exploited year round) (Ha et al. 2014)(Ha et al. 2016) .  In 2013, 53% of the catch by volume was taken by the 1,337 boat gillnet fleet, and 47% was captured by the 381 boat trap fleet.  Proportions were similar in 2015 (55% by gillnet, and 45% by trap). The average landing size of crab caught was shown to have increased overall from the 2015 to the 2016 stock assessment, though size composition varied greatly by gear type (Ha et al. 2016).  Relative to gillnets, traps ("normal" and Chinese) disproportionally exploit smaller size, immature crab. The majority of trap caught crab, and the smallest average size crab are taken by Chinese trap. In 2015, 57.5% of the individual crab were caught by Chinese trap, and of these 87% were immature. The overall portion of the catch in the Chinese trap increased by both number and volume from 2014 to 2015. 

A decline in the total catch from 11,300 tonnes in 2008, to 7,800 tonnes in 2013 was interpreted as an indication of decreased abundance due to overfishing (Ha et al. 2016). Catch volume continued to decrease in 2014 (6,200 tonnes) despite indications of increased fishing pressure (Ha et al. 2016). In 2015, catches were just slightly lower (6,100 tonnes), while an apparent decrease in fishing effort was indicated compared to 2013 and 2014. Because there have been no recent fleet surveys, it is assumed for stock assessment purposes that the number of boats estimated in 2013 has remained constant (Ha et al. 2016) . The 2015 stock assessment highlighted this as a potential source of error.

Viet Nam
Pots
Trends

Relative to gillnets, traps ("normal" and Chinese) disproportionally exploit smaller size, immature crab. The majority of trap caught crab, and the smallest average size crab are taken by Chinese trap. In 2015, 57.5% of the individual crab were caught by Chinese trap, and of these 87% were immature. The overall portion of the catch in the Chinese trap increased by both number and volume from 2014 to 2015 (Ha et al. 2016) . 

2.MANAGEMENT QUALITY

MANAGEMENT

Vietnam’s central government’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) (formerly the Ministry of Fisheries) has broad management authority over fishery resources.  Local Division of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) branches of the MARD implement management measures and activities at the provincial scale (Banks and Holt 2009) . DARD’s jurisdiction extends out to 24 nautical miles from shore. 

Until 2013, there were no stock assessments to inform management strategies, and management measures have largely been limited to seasonal closures, vessel and gear restrictions, and a minimum landing size (MLS) (10 cm with a 15 cm margin of tolerance) (Banks and Holt 2009)(Ha et al. 2014)(Ha et al. 2016) .  Historically, the priority of the managing entity has been to expand effort and provide greater fishing opportunity for small boats, and there are apparently no licensing limits restricting access to this fishery sector (i.e. no limits on fleet size).

Reportedly, a crab management plan was completed in 2011, and updated in 2016 (Poseidon ARM Ltd. 2017) , but it is unclear whether this is a formally adopted plan, and there do not appear to be publicly available documents associated with it.   Stock assessment investigations over the past several years (Ha et al. 2016)(Ha et al. 2014)(Ha et al. 2016) have allowed an emerging picture as to the stock’s exploitation status; however the tools that would allow for a more robust strategy and harvest control rule are not fully developed. Meanwhile, options available for further limiting exploitation of the stock remain within categories of the already existing suite of management measures (time, area and gear restrictions, and size limits).  There are opportunities to better enforce measures, and to adapt methods of implementation, based on stock assessment information, such that measures can more effectively protect the stock. Performance in this regard appears to be mixed but evolving (Poseidon ARM Ltd. 2013)(Poseidon ARM Ltd. 2014)(Poseidon ARM Ltd. 2017) . Compliance with the MLS has been poorly enforced, in part because it has been undermined by the margin of tolerance (Banks and Holt 2009) . As of 2016, DARD had reportedly started to enforce the MLS, and had submitted a request to MARD to eliminate the tolerance margin; but the request had yet to be approved (Poseidon ARM Ltd. 2017) . Following recommendation by the Crab Advisory Council (CAC) in 2014, DARD set new and larger mesh size limits for nets, normal traps and Chinese traps (Poseidon ARM Ltd. 2015) .  More recent scientific recommendations pertaining to protections for immature and spawning crab, including still larger standard trap mesh size, seasonal and area closures, and banned use of the Chinese trap, have yet to be executed (Ha et al. 2016)(Poseidon ARM Ltd. 2017) . A focus of the Kien Giang FIP has been to promote development of a co-management system, as a means of building community awareness and participation, strengthening support for management practices, and ensuring their successful application. The intended approach under this system is for the management entity, DARD, to undertake their responsibilities within a coordinated effort supported by community co-management groups, and a Crab Advisory Council (CAC), which has already been created under the FIP initiative.

Recovery Plans

CPUE is evidently reducing, but there are no rebuilding strategies in place.

COMPLIANCE

There are compliance systems in place, but historically monitoring, surveillance and enforcement of regulatory measures have not been strong (Banks and Holt 2009) .  Landing size restrictions have not been respected or enforced. There have been past reports of systematic non-compliance pertaining to landing size limits, seasonal closures, failure to complete logbooks, processors receiving undersized crab, and sales of juvenile crab for aquaculture feed (Poseidon ARM Ltd. 2015) . A number of planned strategies aimed at fostering compliance and effective enforcement of regulations are in various stages of implementation as part of the Kien Giang BSC FIP (Poseidon ARM Ltd. 2017) . In 2016 it was reported that DARD was implementing enforcement checks on vessels. Inspection efforts were credited as being responsible for some level of improvement in compliance levels. A logbook system and observer program have been initiated since the onset of the FIP, and are undergoing continued development and strengthening.

Following a 2017 EU "yellow card" warning for Vietnam's seafood exports, MARD outlined a set of actions to raise it's standards pertaining to IUU fishing to meet EU importing requirements(VASEP (Vietnam Association of Seafood Ecporters and Producers 2018). In November of that year, Vietnam passed a revised fishery law (No.: 18/2017/QH14, to be enforced beginning in January 2019), containing provisions clearly defining illegal fishing activities, and introducing strict IUU sanctions and quota licensing (Socialist Republic of Vietnam 2017).

There is some concern regarding unregulated fishing in neighboring Cambodia, and its potential impacts on the Kien Giang BSC population, which may be an overlapping stock.

3.ENVIRONMENT AND BIODIVERSITY

BYCATCH
ETP Species

Last updated on 17 December 2018

Occasional captures are reported for a number of IUCN “near threatened” species including brownbanded bamboo shark, Chiloscyllium punctatum (Dudgeon et al. 2016), duskytail grouper, Epinephelus bleekeri (Russell et al. 2008), and pale-edged stingray Telatrygon zugel (as of 2016, formerly Dasyatis zugei) (White 2016). Sharks and rays, due to their low fecundity, can be vulnerable to repetitive fishing pressure. However, a recent Productivity-Susceptibility Analysis (PSA) indicates the fishery poses a low risk to most of these species (Ha et al. 2015; Ha et al. 2016). The exception is C. punctatum, which is indicated to be a "medium risk" in the fishery. 

The fishery does take place close to nesting sites of Green turtle (Chelonia mydas) and hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricate), both critically endangered according to the IUCN (Mortimer and Donnelly 2008; Seminoff 2004). There has been concern regarding risk of entanglement due to increased displacement of gear, and the fact that hawksbill turtles are known to feed on crab (Banks 2010), especially immediately after moulting (Kailola et al. 1993). However, interactions are rare based on anectdotal reports from fishermen, and RIMF observor reporting (Ha et al. 2014; Ha et al. 2015; Ha et al. 2016; Poseidon ARM Ltd. 2015; Poseidon ARM Ltd. 2017).

Viet Nam
Gillnets and entangling nets

In the gillnet catch in 2013, observers reported catches of C. punctatum ("not frequently seen"), E. bleekeri ("rare seen") and D. zugei  ("frequently seen") (Ha et al. 2014).  In 2014, there were no catches of E. Bleekeri or D. zugei reported; but captures of C. punctatum comprised as much as 6% of the observed gillnet catch by volume  (Ha et al. 2015).

Other Species

Last updated on 17 December 2018

A large variety of non-target, non-ETP species are captured in both the trap and gillnet gears in this fishery (Ha et al. 2014).  However, with the exception of the spotted moray (Gymnothorax moringa), which was evaluated as a "medium" risk species based on PSA,  the risk of harm is indicated to be low (Ha et al. 2015; Ha et al. 2016). All bycatch is reportedly retained and sold locally (Banks and Holt 2009). There is no formal stock assessment of non-targeted retained species.

Viet Nam
Gillnets and entangling nets

Roughly 100 species were reported in the Vietnam BSC gillnet fishery catch in 2013. In 2014, eight individual bycatch species comprised at least  5% of the total gillnet catch during at least one month of observer reporting (Ha et al. 2015)

Pots

Based on risk-assessment, none of the bycatch species reported in the trap fishery in 2013 and 2014 are identified as medium or high risk (Ha et al. 2015; Ha et al. 2016). Observer data indicates that by far the largest amount and variety of bycatch in the trap fishery is taken in the Chinese trap (over 70 species in 2014, based on observer data, among which 7 comprised at least 5% of the catch), while little appears to be taken by the “normal” trap gear (Ha et al. 2015).

HABITAT

Last updated on 17 December 2018

There is potential overlap of the fishery with coral reefs and sea grass beds; however there is no systematic monitoring of trends, and the impacts of fishing activities have not been directly measured. Interactions of the gear with benthic habitat are possible, for example, through continued anchoring, and ghost fishing. Minor entaglements with coral are known to occur (Banks and Holt 2009).  Recently, a risk assessment approach was used to evaluate these hazards; this analysis indicated both the gillnet and trap gears pose a low risk to habitat in Kien Giang waters (Ha et al. 2015 ; Ha et al. 2016). It is possible that the wide geographic dispersion of fishing activity, and repeated use of specific fishing grounds, may limit disruption to benthic assemblages (Banks and Holt 2009).

There are areas of refuge for sensitive habitats and vulnerable species. The Phu Quoc marine protected area (MPA) was established in 2007 for the protection of coral reef ecosystems, sea-grass beds, mangrove forests, and endangered and rare species such as green turtle, leather back turtles, dolphin and dugong (Walton et al. 2015) . There are two BSC spawning grounds within the MPA (Banks and Holt 2009) .  Fishermen appear compliant with the MPA restrictions; though the effectiveness of the MPA has not been assessed (Walton et al. 2015) .

ECOSYSTEM

Last updated on 17 December 2018

Ecosystem processes and their significance with respect to the fishery are not well documented. Promoting an ecosystem-based approach to fishery management is a goal of the Kein Giang BSC FIP (Poseidon ARM Ltd. 2017).  A risk based assessment of the fishery's potential impact on the ecosystem, conducted in support of this goal, interpreted the risk imparted by the fishery as being low; though reporting on the analyses is not very detailed (Ha et al. 2015).

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

Bycatch monitoring provides some reliable information on the type and/or amount of bycatch. Species captured in gillnet and trap fisheries were documented by fishery observers in years 2013-2016 (Ha et al. 2016); however, catches, reported as either percentage or frequency of observed catch, are only available in public documents for 2013 and 2014 (Ha et al. 2015)(Ha et al. 2014). Impacts on species comprising at least 1-2% (depending on the year of analysis) of the total catch were assessed in a risk based productivity-susceptibility analysis (PSA); results are available in public reports (Ha et al. 2015)(Ha et al. 2016), though the 2016 report has more limited information. Details on the fishery observer program, such as the sampling strategy, regularity, and degree of coverage do not appear to be publicly available. Nor does it appear that non-target catches reported in observer data are expanded into estimates of total annual encounters, and there is no apparent stock assessment information for retained non-target species (all bycatch is reportedly retained for human consumption) (Ha et al. 2015).

Bycatch data recorded by fishery observers between 2013-2016 (Ha et al. 2015)(Ha et al. 2016)(Ha et al. 2014) indicate that the fishery does not interact with any species that have recognized endangered, threatened or protected status. The fishery does take place close to nesting sites of Green turtle (Chelonia mydas) and hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricate), both critically endangered according to the IUCN (Mortimer and Donnelly 2008; Seminoff 2004). There is some cause for concern regarding risk of entanglement due to increased displacement of gear, and the fact that hawksbill turtles are known to feed on crab (Mortimer and Donnelly 2008; Banks 2010), especially immediately after moulting (Kailola et al. 1993). However, there have been no captures reported since the initiation of the observer program under the Kien Giang Fishery Improvement Project (FIP) (Ha et al. 2014; Ha et al. 2015; Poseidon ARM Ltd. 2015; Ha et al. 2016; Poseidon ARM Ltd. 2017).

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

It is not evident that there are any established limits on the amount of bycatch, but all catch is reportedly retained for human consumption (Ha et al. 2015). There are partial strategies in place, such as seasonal and coastal area closures (Ha et al. 2014), and there is some evidence that compliance with these measures is satisfactory in the trap and net sectors (unlike e.g. the trawl sector) (Banks and Holt 2009). Further efforts toward reducing bycatch and mitigating risk to ETP species are under development as part of the Kien Giang FIP project implemented by WWF (Poseidon ARM Ltd. 2013)(Poseidon ARM Ltd. 2014)(Poseidon ARM Ltd. 2015)(Poseidon ARM Ltd. 2017). Examples are a fishery observer program, and national fishery co-management guidelines (Decision No 67/QĐ-TCTS-KTBVNL (Socialist Republic of Vietnam 2010)), which are still evolving. Specific details of these strategies with regard to bycatch species are somewhat unclear; however, co-management is expected to foster better enforcement, compliance and execution of management practices via shared responsibility and authority. In 2016 the Ministry of Agriculture and Resource Development (MARD) was still drafting their National Action Plan for SharkPreservation in Vietnam 2017-2025 (MARD (Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development) 2016); but it is unclear if the plan has been implemented. The government also regulates the handling and transporting of ETP species (Decree 103/2013/NĐ-CP (Socialist Republic of Vietnam 2013) and ammendments in Decree 41/2017/NĐ-CP (Socialist Republic of Vietnam 2017).

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Habitat Subscores

Studies that directly measure interactions of the gear with habitats in the Kien Giang BSC fishery are unavailable; however, results of a risk-based analysis examining general knowledge of the gear types, the spatial and temporal intensity of the fishing effort, and possible types of impacts indicated risk of harm is  minimal (Banks and Holt 2009; Ha et al. 2015).

Coral reefs are monitored in the Phu Quoc islands as well as other coastal Vietnam areas, but comprehensive, quantitative mapping information for components such as sea grasses and coral reefs has been reported as still lacking as of 2012 (Tran et al. 2012). Impacts to seagrass beds are a potential concern, but geographic overlap with fishing areas is considered to be limited (Banks and Holt 2009; Ha et al. 2015).

Impacts of the fishery on habitat have not been measured.  However, based general knowledge of the gear types, and the findings of a Scale Intensity Consequence Analysis (SICA) (Ha et al. 2015), the risk of harm is expected to be low. 

There are various laws and decrees that are designed to facilitate protection of environment and habitat (Poseidon ARM Ltd. 2017). Article 15 of The Fisheries Law and Decree No 33/2010/ND-CP (Socialist Republic of Vietnam 2010) is an example. However, it is not clear that management measures are organized into a complete habitat management strategy. Lack of compliance with regulation does not appear to be a significant problem with regard to habitat safeguards.

×

Ecosystem Subscores

There is some reliable knowledge and documentation of ecosystem components.  Qualitative assessment in the form of consequence analyses have been conducted to score the risk imposed by the fishery on different ecosystem elements (Ha et al. 2015)(Ha et al. 2016).

The degree to which ecosystem features have been systematically mapped and documented at the fishery scale is unclear. However, there is active research on Vietnam's marine ecosystems (Van Quan 2012; Viet Anh et al. 2014); and some assessment of the fishery's risk to ecosystem components has been conducted (Ha et al. 2015).

Based on the results of a Scale Intensity Consequence Analysis (SICA), and the passive nature of the gears, the risks imposed by the Kien Giang BSC fishery on the ecological community are expecteded to be temporary and recoverable over a short period (Ha et al. 2015).

There are some generic management measures in place such as MPAs and restricted areas (Banks 2010). The Fisheries Law and Decree No 33/2010/ND-CP (Socialist Republic of Vietnam 2010) includes protection of environment and habitat (Article 15). While promotion of ecosystem based management is a goal of the Kien Giang FIP, this type of approach is not currently being implemented. Lack of compliance with regulation does not appear to be a significant issue.

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DATA NOTES

Notes:

  1. There is insufficient data to calculate quanititative scores. Qualitative scores have been determined, based on the limited information available (please mouse-over for details).

Socio-economic scores evaluation (draft) for Vietnam blue swimming crab

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Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs)

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Progress Rating: A
Evaluation Start Date: 1 Nov 2013
Type: Comprehensive

Comments:

Progress rating remains at A with stage 3/4 progress reported within last 12 months.

1.
FIP Development
Sep 09
2.
FIP Launch
Dec 18
Dec 18
3.
FIP Implementation
Jan 19
4.
Improvements in Fishing Practices and Fishery Management
Apr 18
5.
Improvements on the Water
Nov 17
6.
MSC certification (optional)
MSC certificate made public

Certifications

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)

No related MSC certifications

Sources

Credits

Poseidon. 2010. Blue swimming crab scoping for Fishery Improvement Project, Kien Giang Province, Vietnam. Final Report. Richard Banks, Poseidon Aquatic Resource Management Ltd. 22 April 2010.

WWF Vietnam. 2010. Blue Swimming Crab Fisheries in Vietnam – Power Point Presentation (Bali, 29 March 2010).

References

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    Blue swimming crab - Vietnam

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