Supply Chain Roundtable

Southeast Asian Blue Swimming Crab
(coordinated by NFI)

Read the Swimming Crab Sector Sustainability Update 2021.

The NFI Crab Council functions as a supplier roundtable for the swimming crab fisheries of Southeast Asia. SFP is an advisor and provides technical guidance and assistance to the NFI Crab Council where needed.


Sector Snapshot

6 Active SE Asian Blue Swimming Crab FIPs

31 Roundtable Participating Companies

36 % SE Asian Blue Swimming Crab Production Improving

For more information about SFP’s work with the NFI CC on Southeast Asian blue swimming crab, please contact Amber Von Harten or call SFP at 1-808-726-2582.

Q3 2021 Update:

SFP engaged with the NFI Crab Council on the issues identified in the US International Trade Commission’s report on illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) seafood imports to the US, and continued discussions on FIP progress. 

Sector Background

Currently, about 35 percent of global swimming crab production is considered sustainable or improving. Encouraging action in FIPs that are making poor progress or are recently launched could add another 2 percent to this total, but achieving the goals of T75 will require expansion of efforts to significant producer countries not yet in FIPs. 

The main swimming crab producer is China, whose supply is predominantly going to its domestic market. There is also a growing inner-Asian live swimming crab trade, dominated by small-scale fisheries that often require significant long-term management investments.

The swimming crab sector includes all sources of blue swimming crab (BSC) and crab species that can substitute for blue swimming crab in the market. Species include: blue crab (Callinectes sapidus), blue swimming crab (Portunus pelagicus), red swimming crab (Portunus haanii), and Central American swimming crabs (Callinectes spp.). Nearly all swimming crab production is wild (less than 1 percent from aquaculture).

Almost all blue swimming crab fisheries in Asia face similar challenges, including a lack of nationwide, species-specific stock assessments; inadequate management, enforcement, and monitoring; and insufficient precaution in protecting the stocks. Of particular concern are the landing, harvest, and sale of juvenile crabs and berried females (female crabs bearing eggs) and the declining trend in crab size and catch per unit effort. The small-scale nature of the fishery also produces challenges with vessel registration and limited data, and there are some significant impacts on bycatch and retained species, especially in bottom trawl and gillnet fisheries

Activity & Workplan

The NFI Crab Council as SR convenes the market-based suppliers to provide support and guidance in generating activities that improve their source fisheries.

SFP provides assistance to the NFI Crab Council where needed, including: 

  • Providing guidance on approaches members can take to address any problems in FIPs (e.g., conditions required to rebuild the stocks, monitoring compliance with minimum landing size requirements, etc.). Specifically, SFP assisted in the development and implementation of control documents in the Indonesian blue swimming crab (BSC) supply chain. Control Documents are meant to assure traceability and legality of crab products. 
  • Providing technical assistance on piloting and incorporating co-management approaches, as appropriate, to BSC FIPs. 
  • Monitoring the sustainability status of swimming crab stocks and conducting independent evaluations of FIP progress.  
  • Providing technical assistance to stalled FIPs where local experts cannot help (for instance, the creation and promotion of control documents).
  • Providing training in best practices for implementing FIPs.

For more information about SFP’s work with the NFI CC on Southeast Asian blue swimming crab, please contact Amber Von Harten or call SFP at 1-808-726-2582.