First of all, I feel so excited to share an example of our class discussion – local economy. Like I have mentioned in the first time we met that I came from Thailand, the case that I am about to discuss was actually a project that I had hands-on experience with.
Fishery was an important economic activity for Thailand’s domestic and export markets. Most of the export products are shrimps, fishes, shellfishes, etc. In the year 2005, it appeared that crabs which had been one of the significant fishery items were getting lower in terms of quantity caught and qualified size. The fact was that many fishermen were selling crabs that were ready to spawn. To remedy the problem, local communities whose livelihoods relied on the crab industry joined together with governmental organizations and experts and came up with a sustainable development plan called “Crab Bank.”
A crab bank is a group of holding nets that float on top of the water. When female crabs carrying eggs are trapped in the net, they are then separated from the rest of the catch and deposited in the “crab bank” until their young are born. An adult female crab can carry more than one million eggs.
When the baby crabs are born they are released back to the sea. The crab fishermen then return to collect the adult crabs they deposited and are able to harvest without jeopardizing the next generation.
Crab Bank project started with around 10 small and local fishermen. Now the members are more than 200. In addition, this project increases crab fisherman income and help environmental sustainability with the concept of enhancing crab resources to ensure long-term utilization and creating environmental awareness.
The principle of Crab Bank is to allow mother crabs that were caught by fisherman to lay their eggs in the provided cages considered as crab bank before harvesting. The revenue from gained from selling the crab of the bank shall be used for project activities: purchase of equipments and maintenance, family education, and other loans and revolving funds.
The bank is managed by a leader who came from votes. The leader/bank buys female crabs from fishermen and rears crab in cages for 2 weeks to release eggs. Within the 2 weeks, crabs can lay eggs (approximately 600 eggs per crab) and be fatten. After that, the bank will sell crabs at the better price to the market; profit goes to membership fund.
After almost 8 years, it is proved that crab bank can increase catches and encourage community activities and membership. Membership fund has been increasing in a progressing rate for other family activities and benefits – community micro finance concept. Fishermen have higher price negotiation power for large volume catches. And, most importantly, fishermen, local communities, schools, etc. have environmental awareness and sustainability.
Please see the video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W1hSRYAXEvE