Fishermen warned against catching berried, undersized blue crabs

February 21, 2012 11:43 am 

ILOILO CITY, Feb. 21 — Iloilo Fifth District Board Member Jett Rojas through the help of the Iloilo Provincial Bantay Dagat Task Force vowed to strictly enforce the newly approved ordinance banning the catching of gravid (berried) and undersized blue swimming crabs in all municipal waters of the province.

In Iloilo, blue swimming crabs are abundant in coastal municipalities of Dumangas, Barotac Veijo, Banate, Barotac Nuevo, Ajuy, Concepcion, Batad, Estancia, Anilao, Carles, and San Dionisio.

Under the ordinance, any person or corporation is prohibited from catching/gathering, possessing, selling, or transporting berried and undersized blue crabs with measuring carapace of less than 11 centimeters (4.6 inches).

Violators will be fined with P5,000 and/or six months to one year imprisonment upon the discretion of the court.

Rojas, chairman of Committee on Aquatic Resources, passed the ordinance citing the decrease of harvested blue crabs in coastal towns due to excessive and irresponsible fishing activities.

In previous years, crabs harvested in the province reached to 20,000 tons per year and later declined to 10,000 tons. Rojas expressed fear that this will go down to 5,000 tons or lesser in the coming years if the indiscriminate catching of the blue crabs is not abated.

The board member also solicited help from the Philippine Association Crab Processors Inc. (PACPI) based in Cebu City to help them on the enforcement of the ordinance.

Rojas said 80 to 90 percent of the harvested crabs in the province go to PACPI where crab meat is being exported to United States.

During the 4th Governors’ Meeting on the Visayan Sea Protection and Coastal Law Enforcement Program at the Hotel del Rio, last week, PACPI chairman Roberto Eduardo has committed to help Iloilo in the enforcement of the ordinance.

Eduardo admitted they have received several deliveries containing berried blue crabs from their distributors and instead of including these berried blue crabs to their exported product, they put them on their crab cage until they lay eggs. The chairman said one blue crab can produce one million eggs.

The PACPI is a legitimate national organization that seeks to develop the blue crab industry and promote harmonious business relationship among its members in order to provide quality products to its domestic and foreign consumers. The company has already released 50 billion eggs of blue swimming crab all over the country. (PNA)

FFC/AJP/MGC/vlo

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