Training for Mudcrab Fisherwomen in Kaimana, West Papua

28 Nov 2016

MDPI and Conservation International (CI) began collaborating February in 2015 for data collection and implementation of a Fishery Improvement Program (FIP) for a mud crab fishery in Arguni Bay, West Papua. The objective of the FIP is to both ensure availability of good scientific data to support government but also to ensure the mud crab fishery is operating within national regulations and that there is market access for the crab. The stakeholders in the region have been very enthusiastic and have been working together to improve the supply chain and other aspects so that the fishery can stand out from competition as a ‘responsible fishery’.

Mud crab, also known as mangrove crab, has a high market demand in both domestic and foreign markets. The crabs must be exported and delivered alive, which is a big challenge for the fishers and suppliers, both at village and city level. From the fishing village to Kaimana it is a 3-4 hour boat journey. After this there is a 10-13 hour flight to Bali, from where some crabs may continue their journey to Ambon, Makassar, Surabaya,Jakarta or even abroad to Singapore. Currently the long journey from Arguni bay to the intended market (Bali or Jakarta) and the quarantine checking process are affecting the crab mortality, with many crabs not surviving the journey. MDPI is trying to establish a sustainable buyers group with a number of high profile, sustainably conscious restaurants in Bali. These restaurants have received samples of the mud crab to get a feel for the product. Some boxes arrived in good condition, others did not. The current mortality rate is above 5% of the total weight of the shipment, too high for these restaurants to commit to the product. To improve the quality and mortality rate of the crabs coming from Arguni to Bali, MDPI organised a “Mudcrab Good Handling and Packing Training”.

The training was conducted August 24 – 25, 2016 at Kaimana Beach Hotel, facilitated by MDPI, DKP Kaimana and CI. The trainer was Prof. Dr. Ir. Yushinta Fujaya, M. Si, a lecturer of Universitas Hasanuddin (UNHAS) Makassar, South Sulawesi. The materials included: Mudcrab Post Harvest Handling Technique, Mudcrab Packing and Cargo, and also Introduction to Mudcrab Aquaculture. The participants were representatives of the fisher associations in Arguni Bay, suppliers from Arguni Bay and suppliers from Kaimana city. The participants were trained in how to properly tie the claws of the mud crabs so that they do not attack and kill each other when in the boxes. Other sessions during the training included a presentation about the possibility of a community development and social responsibility project with the mudcrab fishery and a presentation about POKMASWAS (Community-based surveillance) by Irwan Pasambo from CI.

Fisherwomen learning how to tie mudcrab to avoid individuals attacking each other when packaged. Photo credit: MDPI

Writer: Karel Yerusa

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