Message from the Chairman
Thank you for supporting Blue Swimming Crab sustainability with the NFI Crab Council. The Crab Council is a group of U.S. and international crab importers committed to preserving crabmeat as a quality product and robust resource.Crab sustainability takes work. The council is focused year-round on our fishery improvement projects, and we want you to hear about it. Please take a moment to read our quarterly newsletter highlighting the Crab Council’s most recent efforts in Southeast Asia and at home. Thank you for staying current with the NFI Crab Council and keeping focused on tomorrow’s catch.

Brendan Sweeny

Sustainability Abroad

Asia Liaison Opening
The NFI Crab Council is hiring a new Asia Liaison. As the Crab Council’s representative in Southeast Asia, the new liaison will work with government agencies and NGOs to promote regulatory changes and oversee the council’s fisheries improvement projects (FIPs) in Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, Sri Lanka and Vietnam.

One of the responsibilities of the new Crab Council liaison will be to oversee implementation of a new control document to trace crab from landing all the way through picking and processing.
Interested individuals can email their resumes to Gibbons at



APRI with Sustainable Fisheries Partnership is working on testing of the Control Document.  
Earlier this year, the NFI Crab Council enacted a policy that called for the testing of a Control Document system to monitor the sustainable harvest of blue swimming crabs. Through an oversight system, the Control Document restricts the catch of berried and undersized crabs with measures that establish control points throughout the supply chain.
Testing of the Control Document will be conducted at Sumenep (Madura Island), Sekopong (Lampung) and Pajala (Southeast Sulawesi.) Third party auditors will review the Control Document system to measure compliance and identify areas for further revision.



PACPI’s ongoing pilot project regarding Spawning Potential Ration (SPR) has successfully gauged stock status in Bohol’s Danajon Reef. In partnership with USAID-ECOFISH, PACPI recorded blue swimming crab fisheries in Bohol at 27% with 30% being a reference point for healthy stocks.

PACPI plans to employ the SPR assessment method in Bantayan Island during 2016’s third quarter. As the flagship site of large scale blue swimming crab in the Philippines and a major contributor to Region VII’s crab production, Bantayan Island is an important BSC fishery with over 150 crab fishers and numerous processing plants.

During the first quarter of 2016, PACPI has expanded their online presence with a website redesign and the launch of a Facebook page. These resources provide FIP progress, fishery news and documents for blue swimming crab stakeholders in the Philippines and abroad.

Sri Lanka

The 3rd Annual SLBSC FIP National Steering Committee Meeting was held at the Sri Lanka Foundation on Monday, 28th March 2016. The national steering committee meeting was attended by representatives of fishermen’s cooperative societies from Puttalam, Mannar, Kilinochchi and Jaffna districts. Officers and staff from the DFAR and NARA also attended the meeting. The SEASL was represented by the FIP Coordinator. An overview of the progress made by the FIP during 2015/16 was presented by the FIP, together with an outline of the work plan for 2016/17. Dr. Haputhantri, Principal Researcher at NARA presented the preliminary results of NARA’s scientific study of the SLBSC fishery in Jaffna Districts. Representatives of fishermen’s cooperative societies from Puttalam, Mannar, Kilinochchi and Jaffna districts gave their feedback and comments on the progress of the FIP over the last 12 months. The future FIP plans were discussed and agreed by the members of the SLBSC FIP National Steering Committee.
Joint activities were organized by Sri Lankan fishermen from north and southern Sri Lanka on the 5th February 5, 2016 to increase the public awareness on Illegal fishing by Tamil Nadu trawlers in Sri Lankan waters. Events were organized to demonstrate fishermen’s opposition to the failure of both the Sri Lankan government and the Indian government to resolve the issue of illegal fishing by Tamil Nadu trawlers in Sri Lankan waters. The events were organised to coincide with Indian External Affairs Minister Honourable Sushma Swaraj’s two day visit to Sri Lanka (4-5th of February 2016). During this visit discussions were held between the governments of Sri Lanka and India to find a solution to illegal fishing by Tamil Nadu trawlers in Sri Lankan waters.
Find more updates on the SEASL FIP in the most recent activity newsletter


The NFI Crab Council will hold a FIP Managers conference in Bangkok during July. The meeting will be an opportunity for directors of blue swimming crab sustainability efforts to gather and discuss sustainability and fishery management issues. The workshop will be facilitated by Corey Peet, Postelsia, and co-sponsored by Monterrey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program. The agenda includes sessions on Risk Based Framework, Spawning Potential Ratio, the Control Document System and Labor.
NFI Executive Director Ed Rhodes views the meeting as an example of the Crab Council’s role in the region.
“The Crab Council is glad to create a forum for the crab sustainability community,” said Rhodes. “With last year’s FIP conference, we saw firsthand that the exchange of ideas and strategies leads to more robust conversation and action. We look forward to the discussion and resulting output.”


Focused on the Kien Giang province, Vietnam’s blue swimming crab FIP has been operational since 2011. Harvest control tools have been set with existed regulations on minimum landing size, closed season/areas and newly established regulation on minimum mesh sizes. A risk assessment has been completed with positive results indicating low impact on the ecosystem and bycatch species.

Bycatch strategy and awareness campaign began at the end of 2015. A communication program has been implemented with a focus on berried and undersized crabs.

More information on the VASEP FIP can be accessed on their FIP Tracking Sheet as maintained by NGO partner WWF.

Sustainability At Home

Crab Council Approves Minimum Jumbo Lump Size Policy
The NFI Crab Council has passed by majority vote the proposed policy setting 3 grams as the minimum jumbo lump weight. The policy will be added to the Crab Council’s list of sourcing standards which include a prohibition on berried female crabs and 10 centimeter carapace width.
Members have 12 months to ensure observance of the minimum jumbo lump policy.
Please view the approved policy below. If your company has any questions on the policy, please contact NFI.
  • The Executive Committee proposes that NFI Crab Council members recognize the sustainability relationship between jumbo lump weight and carapace width by phasing out the use and sale of Jumbo Lump grades below 3.0 grams in weight. This effort would demonstrate compliance with the already existing 10cm minimum harvest size policy that our research finds correlates to jumbo lump pieces that are no less than 3.0 grams. As part of the new policy, NFI Crab Council members would endorse the phase out of Jumbo Lump pieces 3.0 grams and below in their whole Jumbo Lump form in any products. This includes blending whole Jumbo Lump pieces below 3.0 grams in any items including, but not limited to Jumbo Lump, Petite Jumbo Lump, Super Lump, Petite Lump, Lump, or any other named crab meat product.
  • The definition of Jumbo Lump for the purposes of this specification is whole, unbroken meat from the muscle of the swimming legs.
  • If approved via majority vote of the NFI Crab Council, members would have 12 months from the date of policy implementation to ensure observance to this new policy.

New Members
In the first half of 2016, the NFI Crab Council expanded its membership to 25 companies. Joining as new members are AquaStar, Atlantica Imports Inc., Rich Products Corporation and Sherrill International, Inc.
Council Chairman Brendan Sweeny credits the Crab Council’s membership surge to a growing awareness of crab sustainability among the importing community.
“The Crab Council logo has become a symbol that denotes a focus on blue swimming crab management,” said Crab Council Chairman Brendan Sweeny. “More and more companies are making the commitment to put the logo on their cans and pledging to support crab fisheries on their path toward sustainability.”

Copyright © 2016 National Fisheries Institute, All rights reserved.

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