New MDPI-CI Collaboration in Kaimana, West Papua for Mud Crab Management

3 May 2015
Indah Rufiati
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Yayasan Masyarakat dan Perikanan Indonesia (MDPI) in collaboration with Conservation International Indonesia (CI) will implement a project in Arguni Atas District, Kaimana Regency, West Papua Province which aims to empower community who are living in the protection area to take benefit from mud crab commodity in a responsible way to ensure it is sustainably managed over the long-term. Mud crab is main commodity in Arguni District that supports the main livelihood of the community, both for household needs and for commercial aspects. The project aims to empower the community in Arguni District to use mud crab fishery resources in a sustainable manner with economic benefits without causing negative impact on the existence of mangrove in the area. Domestic and foreign market demand for mud crab is quite high at the moment. This demand can greatly threaten the existence of mud crab species in nature if there is no management control of the community. The project will be carried out over 1 year and aims to identify if either the Marine Stewardship Council or the Fair Trade USA for Capture Fisheries are suitable standards by which the fishery could develop a sustained improvement project towards sustainability.

Mangrove crab Scylla Serrata (Mud Crab) is a species which inhabits the estuary of Arguni, supported by mangrove vegetation. These crabs are omnivorous animals, eating other crabs, mussels and fish carcasses. These crabs can grow to a size of 25 cm or weigh up to 2 kg, the female crab being larger than the male one.

Step 1: Site assessment and scoping by the MDPI team. The assessment took place in Kota Kaimana to identify relevant supply chains and in Arguni District to collect fishery data and conduct mentoring for fishers. Methods for the assessment were structured interview and observation and also Focus Group Discussions (FGD). The assessment team consisted of Wiro Wirandi and Karel Yuresa from MDPI, and Obo from CI. During the two weeks of the scoping study, the team coordinated with fisheries stakeholders in Kaimana Regency such as the Department of Marine and Fisheries, Department of Industry, Trade and Cooperative, Forestry Department, Fish Quarantine Centre and several major suppliers in Kaimana. The team also met and discussed with local fishers and local fisheries stakeholders like head of village, head of fishers group and local suppliers. From the visit, MDPI team has identified fishing ground and mud crab fishery supply chain in fisher’s level. The team also obtained preliminary data on the production of mud crab in Kaimana. Furthermore, information about problems encountered and expectations of the fishermen of the mud crab fishery has been identified as well.

Follow ups of the visit are:

–          MDPI will develop mud crab fishery data collection form to measure the level of production and its impact to the ecosystem

–          MDPI will develop a mudcrab sampling protocol

–          MDPI staff will be placed in Arguni District for 10 months for routine data collection and mentoring for mud crab fishers towards fisheries improvement programs

–          Identification of potential international markets are being explored, as this would greatly increase the potential for either MSC or FT standard implementation within the project

Link back for updates on this project soon! We at MDPI are excited about this new branch of our work into a new species and a new region!

The MDPI/CI team meet local stakeholders. Photo credit: MDPI

Writers: Wiro Wirandi and Indah Rufiati

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