India Palk Bay blue swimming crab - gillnet

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The FIP is targetting blue swimming crab (Portunus pelagicus) from the Palk Bay region of the Tamil Nadu coast in India.

The fishing gear is gill net (nandu valai). Each “nandu valai” is about 1000 m long with 40-50 joints and 80-100cm in height and weighs about 55 Kg. The netting is made of high-density nylon mono-filament with a stretched mesh of 90-110 mm. The head rope is nylon with a 1.5 cm in thickness and small floats are attached at intervals of about one and a half feet or marked by a flag and the footrope is with small sinkers. Each weighs about 20g and in one complete stretch of the net, a total of 350 numbers of sinkers are there weighing about 7kg in total weight (BSC FMP). The crew on each fishing boat deploying gillnets at sea, tie several nets (also called gillnet joints) end to end forming a long chain so that they cover a considerable area at sea (e.g. Devipattinam - 12 nets x 70 meters used in OBBSGN). 

The crafts involved in the fishery are classified as Outboard bottom set gillnets (OBBSGN), Nonmechanised bottom set gillnets (NMBSGN), Inboard bottom set gillnets (IBBSGN) and Outboard gillnets (OBGN) (Srinath et al., 2005). The crafts employed for gillnet operation include catamarans, plank-built boats, dugout canoes, and fiberglass coated plywood boats. Motorization of the gillnet crafts, by fitting inboard or outboard engines is also reported, and in recent years’ fiberglass boats with an overall length range of 6-10 m are more commonly used for deploying fishing gears. 

The Blue Swimming Crab (BSC) gillnet fishers in Palk Bay operate under an open-access regime that is based on a top-down management approach with several applicable laws at Federal, State & District levels. Gillnets locally called “Nandu valai” primarily target Portunus pelagicus which comprises more than 98% of the crab landings (CMFRI 2018) with the remaining 2% comprised of Portunus sanguinolentus and Charybdis natator species. BSC fishery in Palk Bay is managed by Tamil Nadu State Fisheries Department (DoF) which issues licenses for fishing boats and applies several management measures (3 days: 4 days Rule for mechanized boats, a token system for trawlers, etc.) to mitigate conflicts between various actors (fishing boats and trawlers). A good account of the management history, fishing practices, historical fishing levels, and other resource attributes in Palk Bay is provided in Stephen et al, (2013); Salagrama (2014); and CMFRI (2018) reports.  

FIP Description 

The FIP is targetting blue swimming crab (Portunus pelagicus) from the Palk Bay region of the Tamil Nadu coast in India.

FIP Objective(s) 

Achieve MSC certification by 2025.

FIP Type 
FIP Stage 
Stage 4: Improvements in Fishing Practices or Fishery Management
Start and Projected End Dates
October 2019
April 2025
Next Progress Report Due 
Tuesday, November 30, 2021
Next Independent Audit 
Wednesday, November 30, 2022
Common Name 
Blue Swimming Crab
Scientific Name
Portunus pelagicus
Gear Type 
Bottom Gillnet
FAO Major Fishing Area
Area 57 (Indian Ocean, Eastern)
Exclusive Economic Zones
Geographic Scope 
Palk Bay, Tamil Nadu
Estimated Total FIP Landings 
3,234 metric tons
Estimated Total Fishery Landings 
53,476 metric tons
Landings Date 
October 2017

FIP at a Glance

29% 43% 29%
October 01, 2019
39% 32% 29%
Progress Rating

A - Advanced Progress
Reserved for comprehensive FIPs that have a Stage 4 or 5 result within the past 12 months.

B - Good Progress
A FIP that has achieved a Stage 4 or 5 in more than 12 months AND Stage 3 activity in the last year; OR a basic FIP that has achieved Stage 4 or 5 achievements within the past 12 months.

C - Some Recent Progress
A FIP that has achieved a Stage 4 or 5 result in more than 12 (but less than 24) months but has not generated a Stage 3 result within the past 12 months OR a FIP younger than a year that has never achieved a Stage 4 or 5 result but has completed a Stage 3 activity.

D - Some Past Progress
A FIP for which the most recent publicly reported Stage 4 or 5 result is more than 24 (but less than 30) months.

E - Negligible Progress
A FIP older than a year that has not reported a Stage 4 or 5 result in more than 30 month (but less than 36) months; OR a FIP younger than 1 year that has not reported a Stage 3 activity.

The ratings are currently derived by SFP from publicly available data on FIP websites, including, and are determined using the following methodology: View PDF
A Advanced Progress
Actions Complete
  • Complete
  • Incomplete
Next Update Due FisheryProgress requires a FIP to provide update reports every six months, and two missed reports will render the FIP inactive. If a report is overdue, this date will appear red.
Nov 2021
Target End Date
Apr 2025

FIP Leads

Organization Name 
Crab Meat Processors Association
Organization Type 
Primary Contact 
Sanil Kumar S
04652 248458; 9486488017
FIP Identification Number The FIP Identification Number is automatically generated by FisheryProgress when a FIP profile is created. While the number itself is not meaningful, they are used by NGOs, academia, and industry to refer to FIPs in a consistent way.