Blue Swimming Crab Fishery: Fishery Improvement Towards Good Aquatic Stewardship Practices

Blue Swimming Crab Fishery: Fishery Improvement Towards Good Aquatic Stewardship Practices

The 6 year projects, studying fishery biology, society, economy, and the ecosystem related to blue swimming crab rehabilitation in Bandon Bay that complies with the Fishery Improvement Program: FIP was the research led by Asst. Prof. Dr. Amonsak Sawusdee, Acting Director of the Center for Academic Service, Walailak University. It was considered the best project by the Agricultural Research Development Agency and the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, Thailand in 2022.

The goal was to strengthen the fishing sector by cooperating with public organizations and private sectors, such as Walailak University, Ubon Ratchathani University, Kasetsart University, Rajamangala University of Technology Srivijaya Trang Campus, Rambhai Barni Rajabhat University, Department of Fisheries, Department of Marine and Coastal Resources, Hydro-Informatics Institute, Thai Frozen Foods Association, the exporters of blue swimming crab, World Wide Fund for Nature, NFI Crab Council and Marine Resources Assessment Group (MRAG). The NFI Crab Council and MRAG were independent organizations that assessed this research according to the FIP framework, similar to MSC, Marine Stewardship Council, criteria.

According to 6 years implements (2018-2023), there was enhancing evaluation of fisheries standards in Thailand, Fishery Improvement Project (FIP), and Blue Swimming Crab (Portunus pelagicus). Previously, the score given by MREG in 2017 before starting this project in Thailand was level as C-level, then the score was significantly raised to A-level in 2018 and continually to 2022 and 2023 actually. Moreover, the findings from this research can be applied to blue swimming crab management in the areas. The results showed that it increased the number of blue swimming crabs. From the beginning, the local fishermen could catch less than 5 kg/ship/day, rising to 10 kg/ship/day.

This research data was able to apply in terms of country policy for the recommendation to declare the aquatic animal refuge area as a nursery for young aquatic animals, to suggest guidelines for the establishment of a blue swimming crab bank and appropriate blue crab release points for increasing the survival rate of blue crabs in natural sources as well as appropriate ecosystem management for the restoration of blue swimming crab resources.

Asst. Prof. Dr. Amonsak Sawusdee went on to state that Walailak University cooperated with various sectors to organize the project titled “Returning Blue Swimming Crab to Nature” and, in 2022, established 85 blue swimming crab stations in Nakhon Si Thammarat and Surat Thani provinces to release the larvae and young blue swimming crabs to the sea. In addition, the project confirmed the research plan of the National Research Council of Thailand and improved the blue swimming crab rehabilitation for sustainable development of blue swimming crab based on the basis of generally accepted international standards (FIP). It enhanced academic knowledge, the exportation of blue swimming crab, society and increased income and the output of blue swimming crab corresponding to Walailak University’s vision of “Addressing community needs and striving for international recognition for excellence” with the Center for Academic Service being the center in driving social engagement. Asst. Prof. Dr. Amonsak Sawusdee was really grateful to the co-researchers, the fishermen in Surat Thani and Nakhon Si Thammarat, the entrepreneurs, and those involved.

The FIP score given by MREG between 2017 and 2023


Goal 14: Life below water

Goal 4: Quality education

Goal 17: Partnerships for the Goals