SAN FRANCISCO – Philippine Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) officials led by Undersecretary for Fisheries, Ms. Drusila Esther E. Bayate, called on Consul General Neil Frank R. Ferrer before their meetings organized by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch Program.
Undersecretary Bayate, along with BFAR Regional Director Remia A. Aparri, Adopt-A-Village Project Leader Sheryll V. Mesa, and BFAR Central Office Information & Fisherfolk Coordination Unit Chief Nazario C. Briguera, briefed Consul General Ferrer on Philippine initiatives to ensure the sustainability of the blue swimming crab (BSC) commonly known as alimasag or kasag.
According to Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch, the Philippines is the fourth largest producer of BSC and the second largest exporter to the U.S., with exports amounting to $93 million in 2022. According to the delegation, U.S. entities such as the USAID (through its Fish Right Program) and the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch have been supportive of fostering the sustainability of BSC harvest in the Philippines.
The BFAR officials presented to Consul General Ferrer among other Philippine initiatives, their Adopt-A-Village public-private-community partnership that aims to ensure balance in the ecosystem and sustainability of the BSC in the Visayas Sea. Their pilot project is located in the fishing village of Igbon, in the town of Concepcion in Iloilo. The Visayas Sea produces around 40 percent of the Philippines’ BSC harvest.
BFAR has also implemented the Blue Swimming Crab Management Plan since 2011. Among other measures, the Plan provides for the protection of crab nursery areas, establishment of minimum carapace width to be traded and establishment of closing season or fishing grounds. Aside from improving sustainability and traceability in the harvest of BSC, the project works to support and provide benefits to the fishermen and local communities reliant on BSC harvest and production.
ConGen Ferrer welcomed the updates from BFAR and offered the Consulate’s assistance in connecting BFAR with innovation and technology companies or startups which may be useful to the country’s fishing industry.