Catbalogan City, Samar — A group of researchers, fisherfolk, and Samarnons have launched a campaign to save Samar Crabs.
Jesus Racuyal, director of the Center for Fisheries Aquatic Resources Research and Development (CFFARRD), one of the leaders of the campaign, has warned about the shrinking supply of blue swimming crabs (locally called karawasan) in the waters of Samar.
Racuyal said the crabs fetch high prices because of its high nutritive value. Processed as crabmeat, it is one of Samar’s biggest export.
Recently researchers from the Samar State University discovered the dramatic drop in the supply of blue swimming crabs in Samar. The report said that its peak reached in 2005 when fishermen collected some 5,817 metric tons of crabs valued at P545,000.
It steadily declined until 2015 when only 1,650 MT valued at P214,000, was harvested. Alarmed, the center for fisheries proposed a study for research and development, and to create awareness about the problem before the crab fishery industry collapses.
The fact that Samar’s poor depend on fishing for livelihood adds urgency to the campaign. Eastern Visayas to be the second biggest regional crab producer, contributing 21.46 percent total marine municipal production of blue swimming crabs, according to Bureau of Agricultural Statistics.
Maqueda Bay, which faces most of Samar, was once a very rich fishing ground until some local fishers turned to destructive fishing methods like trawling and blast fishing.
The sustainability of blue swimming crab resource has now become a critical issue because researchers believe that no stock assessment and aspects on biology have been documented.