By Tara Yap
Iloilo City – The provincial government of Iloilo will replicate the program of Negros Occidental in preserving what locals call kasag (blue crabs).
During the recent Visayan Sea meeting in Sicogon Island in Carles town, Negros Occidental Gov. Alfredo Marañon Jr. pitched the idea to Iloilo Gov. Arthur Defensor Sr. as a way of reviving crab production.
Provincial Administrator Raul Banias said Provincial Agriculturist Ildefonso Toledo will send an aquaculture team to Escalante City in Negros Occidental to learn about what the crab hatchery has achieved.
The Escalante hatchery keeps crabs that reproduce before being dispersed to the sea. It is estimated that one crab can produce a million eggs.
The coastal towns of Iloilo province have long been key crab-producing areas, but the crap population has diminished after fishermen out for quick money began harvesting undersized crabs. The practice has also destroyed the crabs’ natural habitat.
The creation a pilot crab hatchery in Iloilo province is expected to bolster the local law that bans the harvest of undersized blue crabs.
In the ordinance authored by Mayor Jett Rojas of Ajuy town only crabs that are more than 11 centimeters, or 4.6 inches, in size can be caught.
Crab-producing towns include Ajuy, Anilao, Balasan, Banate, Barotac Nuevo, Barotac Viejo, Batad, Carles, Concepcion, Dumangas, Estancia, San Dionisio, and Sara.