THE aquaculture industry has been given the go-ahead to catch more juvenile mangrove crabs and crablets to help with restocking, an order which authorities billed as an aid to the industry’s recovery.

According to Administrative Circular No. 2 issued by the Department of Agriculture. “There is a clamor for stakeholders whose livelihoods are affected by the implementation of the (fisheries administrative order) to allow them to catch, transport, trade, and sell crablets less than five centimeters carapace width for aquaculture purposes, in order to augment their income during this coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, and also to support the recovery of the aquaculture industry.”

Circular No. 2 partially suspends the implementation of Section 3 of Fisheries Administrative Order No. 264, which prohibited catching and trading of those resources.

Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar, who signed the circular on March 5, said the juvenile mangrove crabs and mangrove crablets can be caught only for further growing by aquaculture operations.

Mr. Dar also ordered the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) to provide immediate assistance to mangrove crablet gatherers, consolidators, traders, and growers affected by the pandemic.

Mr. Dar also instructed BFAR regional offices to implement conservation and management measures such as mangrove reforestation, ensure the release of egg-bearing crabs, and establish crab sanctuaries.

The circular will be automatically lifted after one year or once Proclamation No. 922 declaring the state of public health emergency is withdrawn by President Rodrigo R. Duterte. — Revin Mikael D. Ochave