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Mangrove Crab’s Story from Bintuni Bay, West Papua

mangrove crab

Mangrove crabs (Scylla Serrata) are one of the favorite menus among seafood lovers. Mangrove crabs are listed as the leading fisheries commodity in Indonesia. The demand for culinary one continues to increase, both in the domestic and foreign markets.

Bintuni Bay Regency – one of the mangrove crab producing areas in Indonesia has around ± 260 thousand hectares of mangrove forest. It covers 10% of the total area of mangrove forest in Indonesia. The increase in demand for mangrove crabs has triggered excessive capture in their habitat.


“In terms of the number of crabs caught lately, it seems that it has not been so different from 1996/1997, but seeing the size of the crabs is getting smaller,” said Suriyanto, one of the crab fishermen in Bintuni Bay.

Catching mangrove crabs in Bintuni Bay, especially in the Ausoy Banjar Village is dominated by small fishing fleets measuring under 10 GT (Gross Ton). By using a 15 PK outboard engine (Paarden Kracht / Horsepower), mangrove crab fishermen can carry out fishing activities for up to three consecutive days at the target location, then return to the mainland or fishing base.


Bubu Kotak

The fishing gear used is a trap, a trap made from nets specifically made to catch crabs. There are 2 types of trap used by fishermen in Kampung Banjar Ausoy, namely “bubu kotak” and “wadong” (round shape).

The difference between the two fishing gear are the shape, frame material used. For box trap using an iron frame, while the “wadong” uses thinned bamboo then formed into a circle. In one fishing trip, Kampung Banjar Ausoy fishermen can carry up to 80 units of “bubu”, which will later be distributed on the fishing grounds. Within a month, on average fishermen carry out fishing activities at least 4 trips, with catches of ± 400 kg to 1 tonne.

Sustainability of Mangrove Crab Practices

Regulation of the Minister of Marine Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia Number 56 Year 2016 stated conditions for catching mangrove crabs are:

  1. Female crab withoutlaying eggs.
  2. Carapace widths above 15 cm or weighing above 200 grams per

Based on the above regulations, this is certainly a challenge for fisheries businesses from fishermen level to the entrepreneur / industry level. They have to carried out business practices in accordance with applicable rules and regulations.

In Banjar Ausoy Village, normally crab fishermen will release their catch back to their habitat if they get a size below 200 grams.

Fishermen rarely take small-sized crabs (under 200 grams) as local exporters will not buy crabs at that size as well.

WWF-Indonesia – the Project implementing partner of USAID Sustainable Ecosystems Advanced (USAID SEA) encourages improvement in fisheries practices as a form of commitment in sustainable fisheries management.

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