Surat Thani (Thai) Blue Swimming Crab

Fishery Improvement Projects

Surat Thani (Thai) Blue Swimming Crab

  • Species Name: Blue Swimming Crab (Portunus pelagicus)
  • Location/Region: Thailand Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), Surat Thani Province
  • Gear Type: Gillnet and traps
  • Volume: 12,000 mt

© WWF-US / Mike Osmond
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Surat Thani (Thai) Blue Swimming Crab

FIP Stage: 5 (Improvements on the Water)
Progress Rating: A (Advanced Progress)
Start Date: February 2017
Last Updated: March 2022

The Surat Thani blue swimming crab fishery is an important export product for Thailand with an export value of US$60-80 million.

There are a number of issues facing this fishery, including the over-exploitation of the population in heavily fished inshore areas, harvest of undersized crab and gravid females, lack of a management plan or harvest strategy, and lack of enforcement capacity.

The active involvement of FIP Stakeholders, such as the Thai Department of Fisheries, Department of Marine and Coastal Resources, Thai Frozen Foods Association, and FIP Participants drives improvements against the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) standard.

Blue swimming crab fishermen in Thailand prepare their fishing gear.

© WWF-US / Mike Osmond


FIP efforts address governance, fishing practices, and environmental impacts of the fishery so that it can meet the MSC standard. This work is steered by FIP participants and FIP stakeholders and includes:
  • Working with government management agencies and local fishers to map the distribution of crab, conduct a stock assessment, and improve bycatch information.

  • Providing recommendations to strengthen management measures in the Fisheries Management Plan.

  • Working to implement a minimum landing size regulation for blue swimming crab in Surat Thani.


We encourage action across the supply chain to support FIP progress. A FIP Participant is an industry member that is part of the seafood supply chain for the FIP product and is actively engaged in supporting the FIP.

How Can I Become a FIP Participant?

A FIP Participant is an industry member that is part of the seafood supply chain for the FIP product (e.g., retailers, food service providers, suppliers, manufacturers, etc.) and is actively engaged in supporting the FIP. WWF-US encourages support of FIP participants, and will acknowledge FIP Participants on our sustainable seafood website and in other communications regarding our FIP work.

To be considered by WWF-US as a FIP Participant the participating entity is expected to follow the WWF-US FIP Participant Policy.

For more information about what a FIP is and how you can play a role, please contact


The Marine Stewardship Council uses 28 performance indicators to assess the sustainability of fisheries. The chart represents the percentage of indicators that would likely pass, pass with conditions for improvement, or fail upon the fishery’s full assessment.

Thailand Blue Swimming Crab FIP Status

Initial Assessment

Chart by Visualizer

Implementing Improvements

Chart by Visualizer

We use a step-wise process to evaluate the fishery’s performance and identify sustainability issues, and then to implement improvements and report results. Want to dive deeper into this FIP’s progress on each of the MSC performance indicators? Visit



The fishery has achieved the following impacts through improved practices and management
  • Established management advisory committee.

  • Drafted fisheries management plan.

  • Annual stock assessments.

Other efforts making blue swimming crab fishing sustainable in Southeast Asia

October 20, 2016

Kien Giang province is nestled in the southwest of Vietnam, featuring a prominent coastline along the Gulf of Thailand. Here in these tepid waters lives the blue swimming crab, a crustacean with an olive-green body and front claws the color of the sky on a clear day.


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Become a FIP Participant

By signing on to support a FIP you are joining forces with other leaders in the industry that seek to help conserve marine ecosystems, protect livelihoods, and increase the number of sustainable fisheries and the overall supply of sustainable seafood.


© Antonio Busiello | WWF-US