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‘Don’t eat female crabs’

Manila, Philippines – The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) urged the public to refrain from eating female crabs to increase their population.

BFAR National Director Asis G. Perez issued the appeal over a seafood breakfast boodle the agency hosted at the opening celebration of the Golden Year of Fish Conservation Week recently.

“An adult female crab in its full reproductive cycle can produce at least three million crablets which in turn could produce millions more when they mature,” Perez said.

Records at the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics (BAS) revealed a slight decline in the production of mud crabs (Syclla serrata) in terms of volume with figures from the last three quarters registering at 6,357.08 metric tons (mt) (4th quarter 2012), 3,839.69 (mt) (1st quarter 2013) and 3,462.60 (mt) (2nd quarter 2013) respectively.

Perez noted the meat of the male crabs is much tastier and lower in saturated fat compared to their female counterparts.

He added that crab genders are easily identified by their “apron” or fl ap on the underbelly. Males have narrower, pointed flaps while mature females have broader and rounder aprons.

However, Perez cautioned crab buyers from buying what the local vendors call “gay” or “bakla” whose flaps are often narrower than adult females but bigger than males’, identifying them as juvenile female crabs and are covered by the campaign.

The “‘Huwag Kainin Ang Babae’’’ campaign is just one of our many programs geared to revive the country’s once lively fisheries.

Perez added BFAR plans to widen the scope of the National Stock Assessment Program (NSAP) and include other areas. (Chito Chavez)