Catanduanes, apart from being associated with typhoons, is known for its abundant crabs, particularly the superior quality king crabs.
Despite this, market supply remains scarce due to the massive trade of crablets to other provinces that prevents mass production.
“Distribution can go as far as Pampanga in the north and Roxas City in the south. With this trend, it is alarmingly difficult to buy a kilogram of quality crabs anywhere in Catanduanes, said Department of Science and Technology (DoST) senior science research specialist Jaime Cabrera.
Cabrera added that sources revealed that an estimate of 300,000 crablets are being shipped outside the province weekly. He said poverty has forced people to sell crablets at a cheap price.
“If this is sold at a market price of P10 a piece, this is a whopping P12M per month of unaccounted revenue. It is a serious deprivation for the province,” Cabrera added.
To boost the crab industry in the province, the local government headed by Governor Joseph Cua, with the support of the DoST, established the Catanduanes Crab Center at Palnab, Virac, last October last.
The Crab Center aims to regulate the illegal trade of crab juveniles or crablets and promote crab farming. Only crabs that are branded, fattened, and of high quality will be sold in the province to prevent the selling of crablets.
The crab center consist of a crablet buying center and a crab nursery. Crablets found in the ocean are sold to the crablet buying center and are later nurtured and reconditioned at the crab nursery until the crabs can be disposed of to crab grow-out farmers and fishpond operators.
The program has attracted a number of residents of Catanduanes because of the incentive they get from providing crablets to the crab center.
For every crablet delivered to the center, the provincial government gives an incentive of P1 or bigger depending on the seller's market price generated. Those who turn over berried crabs (female crab with eggs) get a cash reward of P500 per piece.
Meanwhile, violators will pay a fine ranging from P1,500 to P5,000 and imprisonment of one to six months.
Grow-out farmers, fishpond operators and other stockers and traders are required to get accreditation from the center and local government.
The DoST, for its part, is currently implementing projects related to crab fattening, crab nursery and crab grow-out in modular cages, for better and faster growth of quality crabs in Catanduanes.
By MITCH ARCEO
June 1, 2010, 6:27pm
Source: Manila Bulletin