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Increasing Crab Catch and Mangrove Rehabilitation in Chonburi

Thailand — Halfway through its two-year implementation, the first project of the UNDP GEF Small Grants Programme and PEMSEA Partnership in Thailand is reaping the benefits within the framework of integrated coastal management (ICM).Initiated in July 2007, the SGP-PEMSEA project involves developing the capacity of communities to implement activities related to protection and sustainable use of marine resources, coastal habitat rehabilitation, and waste management and pollution reduction. The project is implemented by community organizations at seven different locations in Chonburi Province, with the guidance of the local governments, government agencies and academic institutions.In the municipalities of Sriracha, Laem Chabang and Bangphra, a project to rehabilitate the declining crab population through a "crab condominium" has been implemented. The crab condominium is an artificial shelter for spawning crabs until the eggs are released. The crab condo project, which has increased the crab catch along the coasts by at least two-fold, relies on the active participation of fisherfolk and community members. These stakeholders turn over spawning crabs caught in the wild to the concerned caretakers for protection and nurturing in the crab condos, which now contain around 2,000 crabs.In the municipalities of Chonburi, Angsila and Saensuk, a series of community mangrove reforestation activities has resulted in thriving mangrove areas that serve as habitats to marine life, coastline protection, and learning areas for local schools. In Sattahip Municipality, demonstration areas for community-based waste management activities involving recycling and organic composting, which aim to reduce the burden on local landfill sites, have been set up in three communities with the participation of individual households.The project has placed emphasis on the need to strengthen capacity among the beneficiary communities to address their own concerns, as well as the need for the participation of different sectors to create a strong community of implementers that is conscious of the development initiatives being pursued under the project.Developed within the framework of the Chonburi ICM Program and the Chonburi Coastal Strategy, the SGP-PEMSEA project has received steady support from different sectors, including the local governments, government agencies, nongovernmental organizations, business sectors, academic institutions and various social groups within the ICM network. It has also provided opportunities for developing partnerships among the neighboring municipalities and various stakeholders.The project sites are currently serving as learning centers for visitors from other local areas intending to replicate the innovative approaches and good practices. The project was also highlighted during the field visit for the UNDP GEF SGP Asia Regional Workshop held in Thailand on 30 June - 4 July 2008.