The government of Philippines' Catanduanes province last week approved $66,500 for a province-wide crab coalition that would fight rampant smuggling operations of crab larvae and young crabs to other provinces.
The coalition of government and private groups will establish parameters for collection and standardization of crab nursery operations as well as grow-out techniques from larvae to young crabs. It will also regulate distribution of crab breeds to local farms and marketing efforts to other provinces.
The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) and Catanduanes State College in Palnab, Virac, will host breeding centers. The Panganiban demonstration fish farm and nursery at San Pedro will host young crab growout centers and feeding ponds.
Revenue generated from the sale of crab breeds, estimated to reach $20,000 per month, will be used for program expansion and future crab aquaculture projects.
The Catanduanes government will be responsible for administration and financial matters related to the coalition, while the Provincial Agricultural Services Office and Crab Center Executive Board will operate the group's activities.
The Catanduanes government also passed a regulation to restrict illegal crab-breeding transactions. Violators will be fined up to $111.13 per infraction, in addition to confiscation of products and/or imprisonment. Information leading to the capture of perpetrators will be rewarded 20 percent of the fine.
Governor Cua made the proposal upon completion of his team's research, formed to identify potentials and challenges of the Catanduanes crab industry. On public hearing following research conclusion, Governor Cua expressed his dissatisfaction that farmers in Bacolod, Ilocos, Negros and Panay claimed revenue of $8.86 per crab from illegal breeds from Catanduanes purchased for 22 cents.