|Trends in exploitation, development and management of artisanal mud crab (Scylla serrata Forsskal 1775) fishery and small-scale culture in Kenya: an overview|Mirera, O.D. (2011). Trends in exploitation, development and management of artisanal mud crab (Scylla serrata Forsskal 1775) fishery and small-scale culture in Kenya: an overview. Ocean Coast. Manag. 54(11): 844-855. dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2011.08.001
In: Ocean & Coastal Management. Elsevier Science: Barking. ISSN 0964-5691, more
Mud crab (Scylla serrata) is a delicacy for subsistence consumption in fisher communities and tourist hotels in the coast of Kenya while export demand to markets in China and Japan is expanding and provides competitively higher prices. Crab exploitation and degradation of the mangrove forests have increased over the last decades therefore threatening the capture fishery. The preferred market size crab has consistently decreased from more than 1 kg two decades ago to the current size of 0.5 kg therefore posing both management and livelihood threat to the critical ecosystem (mangrove) and coastal populations. To meet the increased tourist and export demand and provide surplus for the local community while conserving the critical crab ecosystem, small-scale aquaculture has been initiated in the concept of silvofisheries. Initial culture methods have targeted sub-adult crabs of 150-350 g for culture to market size (>0.5 kg) in drive-in cages and pens (mud crab fattening). These technology attained survival of between 50 and 70% and a market price of 5 dollars per kilogram. However, research is ongoing to assess viability of stocking juvenile seed crabs directly in ponds as practised in South East Asia (SEA) as opposed to stocking of sub-adults in drive-in cages. In comparison with other areas, crab capture fisheries in East Africa have limited management and enforcement frameworks/capabilities within the wider regional fisheries policies. Also there is limited understanding of wild mud crab resources and suitable management options to avoid over-exploitation as observed in SEA. The double-edged demand (wild market size capture and juvenile capture for aquaculture) for mud crabs in addition to mangrove degradation are likely to cause great challenges to stock exploitation and livelihoods of the coastal people dependent on the resource. This review paper provides an inside onto the tradition, trends and options for development of mud crab capture and culture in Kenya.