As hard-shell and soft-shell crab businesses generate revenue from exports and create job opportunities for the residents, the Fisheries Department is endeavouring to set up a natural marine sanctuary for sustainable crab exploitation.
The Fisheries Department in Rakhine State has banned the exploitation of below 80-gramme sized crabs. The companies are found to adhere to the rules and regulations set by the department. However, the fishers sent those crabs to other markets, which might cause the depletion of the crab resources in the coming ten years and harm the socio-economy of the local community. To prevent such an event, the department is working together with entrepreneurs and civil society organizations to set the small crabs free into the protected marine zone areas.
Efforts are being undertaken to set up natural marine sanctuaries like the zones in Taungup of Thandwe District.
“During a trip of the Union Minister for Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation, the sustainability of crab exploitation is guided. We need to prevent marine resources from overexploitation. The department is trying to conserve the natural resources for sustainable use and create protected areas for the crabs with the stakeholders concerned in the industry including the state government, Fisheries Department and local entrepreneurs,” said U Thet Oo, director of the Rakhine State Fisheries Department.
The soft-shell crab cultivation businesses are primarily found in Thandwe, Sittway and Kyaukpyu districts in Rakhine State and the soft-shell crabs are processed in cold storage plants to ship to foreign countries.
In addition to Rakhine State, the commercially valued crabs from Ayeyawady Region also live in the marine sanctuaries and are sent to Thailand. The soft-shell crabs from Rakhine State are delivered to China, Japan, China Taipei (Taiwan) and European Union countries. Those from Ayeyawady Region are directly sent to the Yangon market due to a lack of cold storage in the region. The live crabs are exported to Thailand again.
Rakhine State Fisheries Department is making a concerted effort to ensure sustainable crab exploitation in the state, manage aquaculture sustainably with the natural marine sanctuaries and prevent the depletion of marine resources. — Nyein Thu (MNA)/GNLM