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The National Fisheries Institute’s Crab Council on Monday announced that it has adopted a policy restricting the purchase of female crabs bearing eggs, or “berried” females, which will help improve crab populations in Indonesia and the Philippines by working with fishermen to give berried females a chance to release their eggs. The policy went into effect last Monday.

The council represents 80 percent of the blue swimming crab imported into the United States.

“This effort continues the council’s goal to create positive change in blue swimming crab fisheries and to further ensure the sustainability of the stock,” said Ed Rhodes of Phillips Foods, the council’s chairman.

“With this policy, we will also help limit markets for berried female crabs and crab roe,” added Brendan Sweeny of Handy International, who helped craft the policy. “It’s through initiatives like these that we hope to promote practices that will ensure the resource is around for future generations.”

The announcement comes just four months after the council’s minimum size requirement took effect, a sustainability initiative designed to end the harvesting of undersized crabs in Indonesia and the Philippines. The initiative was initially announced at the International Boston Seafood Show in March.

The council is currently working with associations in Vietnam and Thailand to expand their sustainability work.

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