Chinese red swimming crab FIP to officially launch this summer

Published on
April 19, 2018

The National Fisheries Institute’s Red Crab Council, the China Aquatic Products Processing and Marketing Alliance (CAPPMA), and Ocean Outcomes (O2) have all joined forces to bring a red swimming crab fisheries improvement project (FIP) in China to fruition, NFI announced on 18 April.   

All three participating organizations signed a memorandum of understanding on Wednesday, 18 April, outlining the intended launch and implementation of the FIP, which focuses on the Chinese red swimming crab fishery. The project, which has been in development for several years, is planned to officially launch in early August, NFI said. 

In 2013, the Chinese red swimming crab fishery completed a first-ever MSC pre-assessment; two years later, it completed a second pre-assessment. The results of the pre-assessment process prompted the NFI Red Crab Council, CAPPMA, and O2 to begin planning FIP efforts for the fishery after collaborating on a stakeholder workshop in Dongshan, Fujian Province in 2016. 

“Extensive time and research have gone into planning this complex Fisheries Improvement Project,” said NFI President John Connelly. “The NFI Red Crab Council grew out of the most successful pre-competitive crab sustainability collaboration to date, in the original NFI Crab Council. And now with this collaboration between CAPPMA, O2, and the NFI Red Crab Council, coupled with the Chinese government’s renewed focus on Red Crab sustainability, opportunity is ripe to begin implementing this work.”

“This MoU links up a shared vision of sustainability from both ends of the Red Swimming Crab supply chain,” added CAPPMA President He Cui. “And our collective action will help secure the future of the fishery and a more prosperous China-U.S. seafood trade, which effects thousands of Chinese fishers, processors, and U.S. consumers.”

China’s Fujian Province is the leading fishing region in China for red swimming crab, according to O2. On an annual basis, approximately 40,000 metric tons of red swimming crab are caught in the province, and then predominantly imported by the United States in the form of canned crab. Several factors, however, have raised concerns regarding the actual stock status and health of the fishery, including the current lack of science-based stock assessments, the implementation of a minimum harvestable size limit, and maximum sustainable yield fishery management strategies. 

The collective FIP approach aims to provide clarity and improve the sustainability status of one of China’s commercially important fisheries, O2 China Program Director Songlin Wang said.

“It’s a joy to see dedicated industry leaders, fishing communities, and foundations come together to help us address the sustainability challenges of our Red Swimming Crab fisheries,” Wang said. “We’re excited to grow these efforts and others of commercially important Chinese fisheries.”

Funding for the FIP so far has been generated by the NFI Red Crab Council and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. The founding members of the NFI Red Crab Council include Asian Pacific Seafood, Bumble Bee Seafoods, Carrington Foods, Chicken of the Sea Frozen Foods, Newport International, Stavis Seafoods, Supreme Crab and Seafood, and Twin Tails Seafood Corporation.

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