Sunday , 25 February 2024

Prized crabs find new home in abandoned ponds

The study site in Dumangas, Iloilo, Philippines recolonized by mangroves mostly Avicennia marina (Photo by MJHL Ramos)

Abandoned brackishwater ponds, if left untouched, can find themselves thriving with the prized mangrove crabs. Allowing mangroves to recolonize abandoned ponds may even provide local fishers with a lucrative source of income.

This is what SEAFDEC/AQD Scientist Ma. Junemie Hazel Lebata-Ramos and her team found out in their study titled “The reestablishment of mangrove crabs (Scylla spp.) in an abandoned pond following natural mangrove recolonization.”

The research team conducted their study in a 70-ha mangrove-recolonized abandoned pond in Dumangas, Iloilo, Philippines wherein six fishers were tapped to conduct standardized fishing every spring tide of the month using cylindrical bamboo traps. During the 18-month study, the fishers were able to collect a total of 14,262 crabs in the mangrove-recolonized abandoned pond.

The result of their study showed that mangrove crabs are capable of returning and living in an abandoned pond recolonized by mangroves. Mangrove habitats that have been previously converted for other purposes (e.g. ponds for fish culture), are capable of growing back mangroves if left untouched.

Restoring mangrove crab population in a mangrove-recolonized abandoned pond can provide livelihood to fisherfolk in local communities without harming the environment since bamboo traps were used to collect the crabs.

The running price of mangrove crab, based on the price index from the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, ranges from USD 8 to USD 25 per kilogram depending on the species, sex, size, locality, and season.

With these findings, the research team suggests to open abandoned ponds to allow the recolonization of mangroves that will lead to the reestablishment of the mangrove crab population in the area thereby helping improve the economic status of marginalized fisherfolk.

Read more about this study by requesting a copy of the published article in the Restoration Ecology Journal through this link:

SEAFDEC/AQD scientist Ma. Junemie Hazel Lebata-Ramos (in white) gives instructions to crab fishers on the sampling protocol or proper way of collecting crabs for the study (Photo courtesy of MJHL Ramos)
SEAFDEC/AQD scientist Ma. Junemie Hazel Lebata-Ramos (rightmost) poses with the six crab fishers, the pond caretaker (in red cap), and SEAFDEC/AQD technician Silverio Tibudan (leftmost) at the study site in Dumangas, Iloilo, Philippines (Photo courtesy of MJHL Ramos)

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