I missed this one when writing yesterday's mangrove update: New Agriculturalist Online reports that villagers on the southern Philippine island of Mindanao at Tantanang Bay are testing a method of sustainable aquaculture designed to farm mud crabs among live mangroves. The system involves using low dykes, canals, and a limited number of nets so that tides can flow in and out unimpeded -- essential to mangrove health. The project was devised by scientists at the Aquaculture Department of the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Centre (SEAFDEC), with local needs and economies firmly in mind. Not only does the sustainable mud-crab aquaculture generate food and income at a small, family-level scale, it also provides an incentive to counter illegal fishing in a nearby fish sanctuary.
In selective harvests of mature crabs over three months in 2004, both yield and income rose by 20 percent.
SEAFDEC is experimenting with using pellets as feed instead of fish, to lessen pressures on depleted fish stocks; although this is cutting into profits, it's considered essential to making the operation sustainable.