By Development Communication Section
KALIBO, AKLAN – To improve the quality of crab production and culture, SEAFDEC/AQD, in partnership with the Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) and Kalibo Save the Mangroves Association (KASAMA), spearheaded a training session conducted for the local crab farmers of Kalibo, Aklan.
Marcejo Sabihon, one of the trainees, shared that while he was assigned to head the community crab farming project, he still lacked knowledge on rearing crabs. He also pointed out several problems encountered during his work in the nursery which is in the village of New Buswang.
“We don’t monitor the frequency and amount of feeding in logbooks. We only mince the crab’s food then place it in bottles or plastic gallons. Since we just kept feeding the crabs, we find dead crabs in the morning,” Sabihon said.
Prior to the training which was held on 1 to 2 February 2019, participants were tasked to survey their culture area and identify problems. Other problems were identified such as the lack of canals inside the pond, the acidic water, low water level, wrong design of pond gates, and debris such as wilted nipa leaves littering the pond water.
After the problems were identified, the participants were engaged in a series of lectures covering topics such as pond construction and design, water and soil quality management and proper culture methods for nursery and grow-out. They were also hands-on in pond assessment activities, water and soil monitoring and stocking.
Jon Irish Aquino, SEAFDEC/AQD associate researcher and training resource person, said that the trainees were able to find solutions to the identified problems during group exercises.
Among the solutions identified by the trainees were the construction of a new dike and canals inside the pond, flushing out the water and preparing the pond once more to counteract the acidic water environment.
“We will rebuild the old dike and make a canal after. We will also try to deal with the water quality and install nets along the pond perimeter so that our crabs won’t be able to escape from the pond,” Sabihon shared.
Aquino also provided examples of the ideal size of the screen net for the pond, as well as providing instructions on how to build crab shelters. To counteract overfeeding, the farmers were taught how to compute the ideal amount of food based on stocking density and were tasked to keep a logbook in order to monitor feeding times.
According to Maila Jamero, administrative officer of KOICA, the mangrove-crab nursery project in Kalibo began in the year 2016 as one of the organization’s projects in collaboration with Noryangjin Fisheries Market Cooperative (NFMC) and KASAMA as part of KOICA’s efforts to aid countries in terms of livelihood.
“Since we have no idea on how to manage aquaculture, we reached out to SEAFDEC and requested a training so that we can be equipped on what to do,” said Jamero. She adds that for now, they will continue what they have started and try to work on sustaining it for the beneficiaries’ livelihood.
“We will continue what we had started after this so that efforts and money will not be wasted. If this venture succeeds, it will really help the farmers.”