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Mixed reactions to Philippines’ crablet regulation

May 27, 2021  By Ruby Gonzalez

Philippine wild-caught crablet hatchery stakeholders welcomed the temporary suspension of the industry regulation that had drastically limited catching and selling.

“Our community is very much thankful for the suspension of FAO 264,” said hatchery owner and trader, Michael Estargo. “We have a year of legal transaction without fear of getting apprehended.”

More could be done, however, he contended. The Department of Agriculture (DA) suspended the FAO 264  with pandemic was the main reason.

“We never heard from the DA or the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources that they are admitting or acknowledging the pointers we raised that the FAO 264 missed,” he continued. “What we want from them is revision and further study before implementing the said ordinance.”


DA issued in March 2021 a temporary suspension of regulation of wild-caught crablets, citing the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the stakeholders. It will be in effect for one year from the issuance or until the lifting of the State of Public Health Emergency, whichever happens first.

FAO 264 pertains to the regulation on catching possession, transporting, selling, trading and exporting of mangrove crablets, juvenile mangrove crabs and gravid mangrove crabs (Scylla spp) took effect in April 2020. In response to this, the stakeholders from the private sector presented a position paper to DA.

Among others, they requested for the allowable size of wild-caught crablets to be decreased from five to 1.5 cm. At five cm, the crablet would cost so much more to grow and the survival rate is exponentially lower, they said.

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