TAGBILARAN CITY, May 12 (PIA)--Efforts to keep Bohol ecosystem sustainable for fisheries surge a bit as communities agree that overharvesting swimming blue crabs can deplete the stocks depriving them of their incomes.
With the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Ecosystems Improved for Sustainable Fisheries (ECO-Fish), people are slowly seeing the value of sustaining the supply, reports Anecita Gulayan, ECO Fish fisheries Coordinator at the Kapihan sa PIA Thursday.
Among the primary livelihood of the people residing in the islands within the Danajon Double Barrier Reef (DDBR) is netting swimming blue crabs (lambay) for consumption of high end hotel and restaurant industries in nearby Cebu.
The DDBR is among the world's very few double barrier reefs and supports a diverse marine ecosystem that has been the primary source of livelihood for the fishing communities in the islands and mainland towns.
Among the primary resources harvested at the Danajon seas is blue crab.
But the method of harvesting however is unsustainable, hundreds of fishers spread a net every time and the daily haul would always include as by catch brooding blue crabs.
The local culture which keeps people eating female and brooding blue crabs also help compound the problem of dwindling supply of blue crabs due to unsustainable fisheries, environmentalists add.
It is as simple as this: You harvest [brooding crabs], you keep millions of eggs from hatching, you deprive a generation a good supply of food, sums up Gulayan.
As the communities slowly begin to realize the impending problem, Gulayan said they have devised a system to assure that the brooding crab hatches in a protected environment.
With a public and private sector partnership, the communities tapped government and ECOFish, along with the Philippine Association of Crab Processors Incorporated (PACPI) to put up holding pens for brooding crab by-catch.
We agreed, that instead of just consuming or selling the pregnant by catch, they bring it to the nearest holding pen, fill up the necessary reports and they still get paid, Gulayan shared.
As to the reports, the agreement includes filing where the catch was, how much the crab weighed and who caught it.
They still have something to bring home and at the same time, we keep a good supply of crabs, Gulayan said.
PACPI helps the sustainability in as much as they too would benefit from the sustainable supply, the fisheries coordinator said.
In addition, Gulayan, who has been with coastal resource management projects in Bohol added that the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources also put in enough allocation to get the project through more communities.
Elsewhere in Bohol, especially in Cogtong Bay, communities have also enforced a close and open season for siganid fishing.
Other than blue crabs, siganid is also among the most threatened table fish specie in as much as it can be spawning in certain seasons.
The BCRMTF came to Kapihan to drumbeat Bohol's efforts to make May as Month of the Ocean Activities a memorable month for food security.
The Month of the ocean adopts Biodiversity for Food SeaCUREity as theme. (rac/PIA07/Bohol)